By Bukar Bolori
No fewer than 11 members of trafficking syndicates have been arrested in connection to drug seizures at both Lagos and Abuja airports.
A statement on Sunday by the spokesman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Femi Babafemi said several attempts by agents of drug cartels to break through the security at Nigeria’s main airports in Lagos and Abuja with large consignments of assorted illicit substances were thwarted by operatives of the agency.
Babafemi said: “No fewer than 11 members of the trafficking syndicates have been arrested in connection to the seizures. Beside the 11 suspects, a 35-year-old physically challenged lady, Kasarachi Onumajuru who hides under her condition to deal drugs in Umudumaonu community, Mbaitoli local government area of Imo state was also arrested on Sunday 29th May.”He disclosed that first on the list of those arrested in connection to seizures at the two airports is Ofor Chileobi who had on Friday 20th May attempted to export to Dubai, United Arab Emirates 200 blocks of cannabis sativa weighing 30.2 kilogrammes concealed in 40 sacks of bitter leaf through the SAHCO export shed, a cargo wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.He said on the same day, 10 cartons of khat with a gross weight of 354.6 kilogrammes were also seized at the NAHCO import shed of the airport, and the following day, Saturday 21st May, a freight agent, Roland Orinami was arrested by NDLEA operatives attached to the local wing of the Lagos airport with 1.9 kilogrammes Loud, a variant of cannabis, factory packed in some bottles while trying to send same via flight to Abuja.Babafemi added that a follow up operation in Abuja led to the arrest of a taxi driver, Nsikak Evans sent to collect the consignment, whose confession also led to the arrest of the actual owner, Adesanya Isaac at his house in Life Camp area of Abuja. He said Adesanya who claims to be into Information Technology, accepted ownership of the seized drug, and said it was meant for an upcoming birthday party of one of his friends.He said in another clampdown on Tuesday 24th May, another freight agent, Moshood Olaide was arrested at NAHCO export shed of the MMIA when he presented a cargo containing psychotropic substances heading to Dubai. According to him, the illegal consignment was packed into other items such as can drinks, liquid bitters and other non-controlled drugs, with the seized drugs including tramadol 225mg, Rohypnol and MDMA.He said a follow up operation led to the arrest of another suspect linked to the crime, Olagboye Selim on Friday 27th May, adding that also on the same day, operatives of the Nigerian Customs Service at NAHCO import shed transferred 15 cartons of khat leaf with a gross weight of 256.7 kilogrammes which came into the country on Royal Air Maroc to NDLEA command at the airport.Babafemi also disclosed that the previous day, Monday 23rd May, another freight agent, Lasebikan Gbenga was arrested with 200 bottles of pentazocine injection, with a brand name “Drutapent” weighing 1.05 kilogrammes, with the consignment heading to the United States of America.He said another agent, Akuta Lucy was on Thursday 26th May arrested at the SAHCO export shed while attempting to export 14.75 kilogrammes of khat concealed inside other vegetable leaves and food condiments such as bitter leaf, scent leaf, pepper, all packed in bags for shipment to the United Kingdom.At the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, a 45-year-old Ezika Nicholas was arrested on Thursday 26th May for ingesting 60 pellets of cocaine weighing 1.037 kilogrammes on arrival from Addis Ababa on board Ethiopian airline.According to him, Ezika who claims he’s into shoe business before his arrest travelled to Ethiopia on 23rd May on the invitation of the person who gave him the drug, which he ingested before returning into the waiting arms of NDLEA officers at the Abuja airport.He said efforts by drug cartels to export 4 kilogrammes methamphetamine concealed in nylon rolls to New Zealand were also frustrated by anti-narcotic officers attached to a courier company in Lagos just as they blocked different quantities of cannabis sativa and Tramadol hidden in soles of slippers from being shipped to Oman through the same firm.He said no fewer than 335,820 tablets of tramadol, Exol 5, Diazepam and Rohypnol as well as 400 bottles of codeine syrup concealed in bags of vegetables have been intercepted in Abuja in a hummer passenger bus coming from Enugu on Monday 30th May, adding that the bus driver, Augustine James, 35, is currently helping investigation.According to him, In Imo state, 1,111 kilogrammes of cannabis sativa heading to the Orlu forest, which has become a fortress for non-state actors, was intercepted on Thursday 26th May.Meanwhile the Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd) has commended the officers and men of MMIA, NAIA, DOGI, FCT and Imo Commands of the agency for sustaining the heat on drug cartels.