The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) yesterday, said it has destroyed a cannabis farm in Ekiti State which spans across 16 hectares of farmland while 4,000 kilograms of different illicit drugs were intercepted in multiple raids across the country.
The agency disclosed this in a statement made available by the NDLEA Director, Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi via the agency’s website.
According to the statement, the agency, between last Monday and Wednesday, bust some forests in Ijesha Isu-Ekiti, Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti state, where the cannabis farmland was discovered and set ablaze, destroying about 40 tons of cannabis plants.
Babafemi said, “In a massive operation between Monday 11th and Wednesday 13th September, NDLEA operatives stormed thick forests in Ijesha Isu-Ekiti, Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti state, where they destroyed 40 tons (40,000 kilograms) of cannabis plants covering 16 hectares of farmland.”
He added that the NDLEA operatives last Friday, along Okene-Lokoja-Abuja road, intercepted two Sienna buses conveying 1,194 cylinders of nitrous oxide popularly known as laughing gas which weighed 2,547.2 kilograms meant for delivery in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
“No fewer than 1,194 cylinders of laughing gas with a total weight of 2,547.2 kilograms loaded in two Toyota Sienna buses were on Friday 22nd September intercepted by NDLEA operatives along Okene-Lokoja-Abuja expressway. Two suspects: Onyebuchi Ikpozu and Kenneth Igwe who were taking the consignments to the nation’s Federal Capital Territory for distribution have been arrested and taken into custody.
“While one of the Toyota Sienna buses marked KTU 582 HV was conveying 99 cartons containing 594 cylinders weighing 1,267.200kgs, the second bus with registration number FKJ 329 YA was conveying 100 cartons of the substance with 600 cylinders weighing 1,280kgs. A 48-year-old woman, Mrs. Ugo Eluba was also arrested in Abuja in a follow-up operation after 2,400 ampules of pentazocine injection and 100,000 tablets of Exol-5 intercepted in Kogi state were traced to her.”
The agency said it intercepted a trailer with registration number LSR 343 XW with 959kgs of skunk concealed in Maggi cartons meant for distribution in Sokoto and Abuja, while two suspects, Shuaibu Yusif and Abubakar Hussaini, were arrested for illegal possession of 89.1kgs of skunks in Jigawa.
“In the FCT, operatives intercepted 977 kilograms of skunk on Wednesday 20th September in a trailer marked LSR 343 XW, bearing cartons of maggi. The skunk consignment was loaded into the truck at Ipele junction in Ondo state. While 959kgs of the substance were meant for distribution in Sokoto state, the rest was to be dropped off at Gwagwalada. Two suspects: Auwal Mohammed and Abdullahi Abubakar have been arrested in connection with the seizure, while two other suspects: Mutari Abdulazeez, 31, and Ayuba Madaki, 28, were also arrested on Saturday 23rd September at Zuba area of the FCT with different quantities of methamphetamine, cannabis and 13, 930 pills of tramadol.
“In the same vein, Shuaibu Yusif, 27, and Abubakar Hussaini, 20, were on Saturday 23rd September nabbed with 89.1kgs of skunk along Kano -Hadejia road, Jigawa state during a stop and search patrol by NDLEA operatives”, he said.
In another operation in Kaduna and Lagos, the agency intercepted 6,000 ampules of pentazocine injection with the suspected owner of the consignment arrested in Bauchi while 183kgs of Ghana Loud concealed in the body compartments of a bus was intercepted in Lagos.
“No fewer than 6,000 ampules of pentazocine injection were recovered from a suspect, Usman Musa Sidi, 35, on Monday 18th September along Abuja – Forest road, Kaduna while on his way to Bauchi state. A follow-up operation in Bauchi led to the arrest of the actual owner of the consignment, Dominic Chukwuma, 35, on Tuesday 19th September, with at least 2.58kgs of Diazepam and 36.55kgs of pentazocine injection recovered from his home. Two other suspects: Inuwa Nuhu and Isiyaku Dahiru Sani were also arrested the same Tuesday in connection with the seizure of 49 blocks of cannabis sativa concealed in a black sack weighing 26kgs in a commercial vehicle coming from Ogere, Ogun state to Kano.
“While a total of 183kgs of Ghana Loud, a strain of cannabis, were recovered from body compartments of a J5 bus intercepted in Lagos on Wednesday 20th September, operatives in Sokoto, on Tuesday 19th September arrested one Charles Okeke, 44, with 473 bottles of codeine syrup at Unguwar Kosai area of Sokoto. In Edo state, 365 blocks of compressed cannabis sativa weighing 258kgs were recovered from a Toyota Camry car marked KTU 886 EZ at Igarra, Akoko Edo LGA,” the statement read.
CAS Lauds Troops For Exceptional Performance In South-East Operation
Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, has lauded Nigerian Air Force (NAF) troops for exceptional performance in ongoing Joint Task Force in the South-East code-named “Operation Udo Ka II”.
Abubakar said this yesterday in Enugu during his maiden visit and tour of operational and training assets and facilities within NAF Ground Training Command (GTC), Enugu.
He noted that NAF troops had done exceptionally well and recorded series of success in the joint operation meant to keep the South-East safe and secured for all.
The CAS noted that the GTC Command was highly important to NAF as it housed the ground component (non technical component) as well as a unit of air component necessary to ensure the attainment of the mandate of NAF.
He said: “Today, we are in Enugu, which is the host of the GTC Command in our maiden visit and we are here to interact with the NAF personnel, see the facilities and infrastructure on ground.
“We are also here to encourage the personnel to continue to do the good job they had been doing before now.
“The GTC Command and the Air Training Command are key to all of our activities in NAF and the two commands ensure we have the adequate and skilled manpower for all our activities and operations.
“I am also here to strengthen our activities within Operation Udo Ka II, which Enugu is the headquarters, and see how we can achieve greater successes more than what we are having now and ensure that South-East is totally secured.”
He disclosed that 750 personnel were currently undergoing training and would be graduating between December 2023 and January, 2024.
“These training are important to us in terms of our operation; and the current number is very significant amount of manpower to be injected into our operations and other activities in the country,” he said.
On the inspection in the new GTC Command Headquarters, new 553 Base Services Group (BSG) Headquarters and BSG Annex; Abubakar said that he was quite satisfied and impressed with the pace, level and quality of work done already.
“I have taken out time to inspect the projects and asked questions about the projects and I tell you that I am satisfied with what are on ground and all our assets and facilities are well maintained and protected,” he said.
The NAF boss commended NAF officers, airmen and airwomen in GTC Command for “doing a good job and keeping the flag flying high” as well as extolled their sacrifices and commitment to duties as well.
“I am very happy for their performance. We at the NAF headquarters, we are doing all we can to make sure they have all the necessary support and equipment as well as welfare and accommodation to carry out their jobs effectively,” he said.
He assured NAF personnel of doing more by providing all necessary infrastructures to ensure the maximum working of the GTC Command.
The CAS also inaugurated a renovated airmen’s club and new Mrs Rakiya Abubakar Children’s Park as well as inspected the water treatment and reticulation system and the hospital within NAF Base, Abakpa in Enugu.
UNIBADAN Lecturer Wins Best Thesis Dollar Prize
The Institute of African and Diaspora Studies (IADS), University of Lagos, has announced Dr Muhammad Ribadu as winner of this year’s Rahamon Bello Best Ph.D thesis in African Studies award.
The Director of the institute, Prof. Muyiwa Falaiye, made the announcement in a statement issued to newsmen yesterday in Lagos.
Ribadu, of the University of Ibadan, will be rewarded with a total of 1000 dollars, a plaque and a certificate.
Falaiye said a total of 18 entries for the 4th edition of competition were received from various universities in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa
He gave the title of the winning thesis as: The Social Context of Gentrification in Lagos State; Ph.D (Jan. 2023) Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan.
“The first runner up for this competition was Oluwaseyi Popogbe, currently a lecturer at the Department of Economics, Crawford University in Ogun.
“The title of his thesis is: Social Exclusion and Poverty in Selected Coastal Slum Areas in Lagos State; Ph.D (Dec. 2022) Department of Economics University of Lagos.
“The second runner up position went to Dr Charles Akwen, currently a lecturer at the Department of English, University of Lagos.
“Akwen’s thesis is titled: Notions of Identity in the Literary Creativity of Odia Ofeimun and Yang Mu; Ph.D (Dec. 2022) English Literature, University of Lagos,” the director stated.
He said that both the first and second runners up would be awarded plaques and certificates in recognition of their contributions and hard work.
Falaiye noted that the competition was in honour of Prof. Rahamon Bello, who was the 10th Vice Chancellor of the university, at the time the institute was inaugurated.
The prize money is usually donated every year for the award by friends of Prof. Bello.
Falaiye said that Dec, 6, had been fixed for the presentation of the awards.
The Tide source reports that the award was first presented in 2020.
States, LGs Lack Infrastructure To Manage Ecological Fund, Shun Queries – Perm Sec
The 36 states of the federation and the 774 local government councils have no structure in place to manage Ecological Fund.
The declaration was made in Abuja, yesterday, by the Permanent Secretary, Ecological Project Office, Malam Shehu Ibrahim.
Ibrahim made the declaration at an interactive session with the House Representatives Committee on Ecological Fund.
He said since states and local governments began to share the fund with the Federal Government they had not been able to put structures in place to manage their share.
The Ecological Fund is an intervention fund by the Federal Government to address the multifarious ecological challenges in various communities in the country.
Ibrahim told the house committee that the sharing of the fund among the three tiers of government followed a court decision.
He said governors and local council chairmen never welcomed queries about how they deployed the ecological funds.
“It is a `no-go’ area,’’ he quipped.
“They don’t want to see officials of the Ecological Project Office near them; so we cannot ask them how they spend the money,’’ he added.
Ibrahim said also that all motions by the National Assembly regarding intervention on ecological project matters had been treated.
“The Ecological Project Office acts expeditiously on documents sent to it to solve problems; it looks at some of the gaps within the motion and tries to fill the gaps, and we have had more than five of such motions.
“ The Ecological Project Office does not handle funds; it only appraises projects and makes recommendations to the president,’’ he said.
The permanent secretary explained that it is the Ministry of Finance that manages the fund and the projects.
He stressed that it was a misconception that the Ecological Project Office is in charge of funds and at liberty to decide on where projects would be sited with the money in its coffers.
He said whenever there were interventions; the Ecological Project Office informed affected communities and went with the contractor to hand over the projects to the community.
This is to enable the community to take ownership of the intervention and communicate their observations to the project office.
Responding, Rep. Sani Jaji (APC-Kaura Namoda/ Birnin Magaji), chairman of the committee, said there should always be stakeholders engagement before embarking on ecological fund intervention projects.
He noted that the projects were stakeholders’ projects and failure to include the stakeholders would always lead to security breach.
“So many things happened with UNICEF’s polio vaccine rejection; but when it included stakeholders, people began to accept the vaccine.
“It is critical to involve stakeholders and ensure equity. Security cannot be the reason why you won’t execute projects in certain parts of the country.
“The perception about your office is that there is money out there; so you need to change that perception and let people know that you have limitations about the execution of projects,’’ he said.
Jaji challenged the Ecological Fund Project Office to provide the needed advice to the president to enable him to take the correct steps.
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