Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have arrested two ladies and six men over attempts to import hundreds of cocaine pellets into Nigeria and export thousands of Tramadol 255mg tablets among other illicit drugs to Europe through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja; Akanu Ibiam International Airport (AIIA), Enugu; and Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.
NDLEA’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, disclosed,yesterday, that, “The streaks of arrests and seizures began on Sunday, 17th July, when a 52-year-old father of three, Okwo Paul Okechukwu, was arrested upon his arrival from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia via an Ethiopian airline flight at the Abuja airport for ingesting 76 pellets of cocaine.
“During preliminary interview, Okechukwu who hails from Enugu Ezike, Igbo Eze LGA, Enugu state, said he was into selling women’s wigs and hair attachment before veering into the drug trade.
“He has since completed excreting all the 76 wraps of the drug he swallowed while under observation at the agency’s facility in Abuja.
“In the same vein, another father of three, Lawrence Chijioke, 42, was arrested at the Abuja airport same day in an operational synergy between NDLEA and Nigeria Customs Service at the NAIA.
“Chijioke, who hails from Umuahia in Umuahia LGA, Abia state was arrested during an inward clearance of Ethiopian Airline flight from Addis Ababa with 529 pellets of cocaine weighing 11.70kg concealed in his bag.
“In his statement to anti-narcotic officers, he claimed he was promised N2million, which he planned to use to boost his business, upon successful delivery of the cocaine consignment in Abuja.
“NDLEA operatives also on Saturday, 23rd July, arrested 29-year-old Ms. Onuorah Caritas Onyinye at the Enugu airport upon arrival on Ethiopian airline flight from Addis Ababa.
“A search of her luggage led to the discovery of 2.192kilogrammes of cocaine concealed in two designers women handbags with false linings.
“Attempts by drug traffickers to export different illicit drugs through the NAHCO export shed at the Lagos airport to Europe and United Arab Emirate were also frustrated by officers and men of the agency.
“The operatives on Monday, 18th July, intercepted some illicit substances concealed in a consolidated cargo going to Dubai, UAE.
“Apart from 24 parcels of Loud, a variant of cannabis, which is largely grown in the United States and Canada, other substances recovered from the cargo include a precursor for methamphetamine, BMK glycidic acid; tablets of designer drug MDMA and another five parcels of cannabis.
“No fewer than four freight agents were arrested in connection with the seizure.
“They include: Balogun Adesola Olamilekan; Sulaimon Kaosarat Yetunde; Benjamin Christopher Joel; and Omoniyi Ibukun Abraham.
“Also same day, Monday, 18th July, the bid by an Italy-bound passenger Tony Osas to export 10, 250 tablets of Tramadol 255mg to Europe through the Lagos airport was foiled by NDLEA operatives who intercepted him at gate B departure hall during outward clearance of passengers on a Turkish airline flight to Milan.
“During a search of his luggage, Osas who hails from Ovia South–West Local Government Area of Edo State was found with the illicit substance that weighed 5.70kg concealed inside gari, a local cassava product tucked in his black handbag.
“In Kaduna, a driver Jamilu Lawal, was arrested on Sunday, 17th July, along Abuja-Kaduna express road, with 157,000 tablets of Diazepam weighing 37.5kg. A follow up operation same day led to the arrest of the actual owner of the consignment, Abubakar Isiyaku, in Katsina.
“Another suspect, Isah Mohammed, was equally arrested same day in Kano during a follow up operation, after the interception of his consignment, 2,500kg rubber solution (solvent) locally called Shalisha in Kaduna.
“In Abuja, no fewer than four persons were arrested over 345.4kg cannabis seizures in the FCT. While Mohammed Auwal, 37; Godspower John, 34, and Chukwuma Odeh, 35, were arrested in Jabi Park over a 77.7kg drug consignment on Monday, 18th July, Isah Yusuf, 25, who hails from Kaura Namoda LGA, Zamfara State, was nabbed with 267.7kg cannabis when operatives raided DeiDei area of the FCT on Saturday, 23rd July.
“In Sokoto, operatives on stop and search operation along Gusau-Sokoto road arrested one Tochukwu Joseph Oranusi with 20,100 tabs of Rohypnol inside a commercial bus coming from Onitsha, Anambra State.
“Bottles of Codeine Syrup weighing 15.2 litres and 400grammes of Rohypnol tabs whose owner, Buhari Sambo was later arrested, were also recovered from the vehicle.
“In Anambra, a suspect Azubuike Ogbanu was arrested with 76 cups of Arizona, 172 sachets of skunk, 82 pinches of methamphetamine, 20 sachets of Loud, and 10 wraps of Colorado when his base, Loren hostel, Ifite, Awka, was raided by operatives on Thursday, 21st July”.
While commending the officers and men of the MMIA, NAIA, AIIA, Kaduna, Sokoto, FCT and Anambra Commands for the arrests, seizures and their tenacity, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd) urged them and their colleagues across the country to remain steadfast in pursuit of the agency’s goal of ridding all parts of Nigeria of illicit substances.
Customs Suspends Rice Sale As Seven Die In Stampede
The Nigeria Customs Service has announced the suspension of the sale of foodstuffs following a stampede that reportedly killed seven persons at the NCS Old Zonal Headquarters in the Yaba area of Lagos State, last Friday.
A Chief Superintendent of Customs and National Public Relations Officer for Comptroller General of Customs, Abdullahi Maiwada, disclosed the suspension of the exercise in a statement on Monday.
Nigeria Customs had said it was selling seized food items at N10,000 per 25kg to alleviate the people’s suffering as a result of the current high cost of living and other economic hardships.
Last Friday, a pregnant woman and six others reportedly died in a stampede after some suspected hoodlums attempted to force their way into the Yaba Customs office compound.
Some Lagos residents who thronged the NCS office in Yaba expressed disappointment on Monday following the suspension of the initiative.
However, in a statement on Monday evening, the NCS said the suspension became necessary considering “the recent unfortunate event.”
“We regrettably announce the suspension of this exercise until we establish what transpired on Friday, February 23, 2024,” the NCS spokesman said.
He explained that: “The disposal of the food items got off to a smooth start at about 0800hrs. We enjoyed the cooperation of the large crowd that obliged us, giving preferences to the elderly, people living with disabilities, pregnant women, and other vulnerable Nigerians who showed up for the exercise.
“This was the case up until about 1700hrs, as attested to by the over 5,000 beneficiaries and members of the press. However, unforeseen challenges arose when we ran out of stock and announced the continuation of the exercise the following day, leading to a regrettable outcome.
“The crowd became desperate and charged through our barricades in search of rice bags inside emptied containers. In the stampede that ensued, some fatalities and injuries were regrettably recorded.”
The Customs extended its “heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives during the unfortunate incident.”
The service said it was working with health authorities to establish contact and engage directly with the victims’ families on their next steps.
Court Dismisses Police Objection Against Fubara’s CoS …Restrains Police From Arresting Ehie
A Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt, yesterday, dismissed the preliminary objection by counsel to the Nigerian Police, Celestine Dickson, challenging the jurisdiction of the Court to hear the fundamental rights suit by the Chief of Staff to Governor Siminalayi Fubara, Hon. Edison Ehie against the police for lack of merit.
The trial Judge, Justice Sika Aprioku, in a ruling, yesterday, assumed jurisdiction and held that the non-joinder of the Nigeria Police Force in a matter that the Commissioner of Police is a party to does not render the suit incompetent.
Justice Aprioku said the application by the Police lacks merit and thereby dismissed it with a cost of N100,000 in favour of Hon Edison Ehie.
Aprioku also granted the prayers of the counsel to Edison, Damian Okoro to restrain the Police from arresting, detaining, harassing, or inviting Ehie based on the trumped-up charges in the suit by Rt Hon. Martin Amaewhule in connection to the destruction of the Hallow chamber of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
Speaking to newsmen outside the courtroom, counsel to the Police, Celestine Dickson, said he would study the judgment and advise his clients accordingly.
Dickson stated, “That is the wisdom of the court and we cannot criticise the wisdom of the court. The outcome of court decisions must bind parties.
“If you are not satisfied I think you study the judgement and take the next step. The court made it clear that in a couple of minutes, we were going to have copies of the judgement. That will give us the opportunity to look at the judgement and advise our clients accordingly.
On his part, one of the counsel to the Chief of Staff, Ibioku Mac-Barango said the judgment reflects the position of the law.
Fubara Expresses Confidence In Tinubu To Address Labour Concerns
In the midst of the ongoing nationwide protest organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has expressed confidence in President Bola Tinubu’s ability to address the concerns raised by the organised labour and alleviate their fears.
Fubara gave the assurance during the NLC’s protest to the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday .
The State NLC, led by its chairman, Alex Agwanwor, had joined its counterparts in other parts of the country to protest against high cost of living in the country occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government in May last year.
Recall that there have been a series of protests across the country over the cost of living, inflation, insecurity and hardship among Nigerians.
The NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had on February 8 issued a 14-day nationwide strike notice to the Federal Government over the failure to implement the agreements reached on October 2, 2023 following the removal of the fuel subsidy.
Responding to a letter of demands presented to the governor by the State NLC, Fubara noted that the grievances outlined by the protesters primarily fell within the purview of the Federal Government.
The governor, who was represented by the Head of the Rivers State Civil Service, Dr. George Nwaeke, said, “To all who listened to every presentation of the labour leader as it is being read out, we can find out none is local, not originating from local source here. They are all national issues and we have hope in the Renewed Hope Agenda of the Federal Government. We have hope. And I know Governor Fubara will also deliver this message as presented by you to the President.”
Fubara further assured the protesters that his administration remained committed to alleviating the economic hardships faced by the people of Rivers State.
He highlighted initiatives such as the provision of palliative buses in response to the fuel subsidy removal and the ongoing development of 20,000 housing units for low-income earners.
The governor also emphasized his administration’s dedication to improving the welfare of civil servants, citing measures such as the employment of 10,000 youths into the state civil service, promotions, and the provision of bonuses.
He affirmed the significance of the issues raised and reiterated his commitment to prioritizing the welfare of workers in the State.
He, however, assured that the NLC’s demands would be conveyed to the President as presented.
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