By Femi Babafemi
A rehabilitated ex-fighter of the Boko Haram terror group, Alayi Madu and the traditional ruler of Kajola, a border community between Ondo and Edo state, Baale Akinola Adebayo are among 37 persons arrested over 2.2 tons of illicit drugs seized by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA Ikeja, Lagos and in raids across 12 states in the past week.
As part of ongoing operations to mop up illicit drugs across the country ahead of the next round of elections, NDLEA officers in the early hours of Friday 10th March, stormed Kajola forest in Kajola community, a border town between Edo and Ondo state where they destroyed three cannabis farms measuring 39.801546 hectares.
The owner of the farms who claims to be the Ba’ale of Kajola, Akinola Adebayo, 35, was arrested on the farm at 2:30am, while two other suspects believed to be his workers: Arikuyeri Abdulrahman, 23 and Habibu Ologun, 25, were also nabbed in a hut near the farms.
In the same vein, a 26-year-old Alayi Madu, who was a Boko Haram fighter for 15 years before he surrendered to the Nigerian military in 2021 was intercepted by NDLEA operatives on Thursday 9th March along Abuja-Kaduna express road with 10 kilograms of skunk, which he said he bought in Ibadan, Oyo state and was taking the consignment concealed in a sack to Maiduguri, Borno state.
In his statement, Madu said he is from Banki town, Borno State and joined the notorious terrorist organisation, in 2006 when he was nine years old.
He said he repented and surrendered to the military in 2021, after which he underwent rehabilitation and de-radicalisation processes at Umaru Shehu rehabilitation centre, Maiduguri and Malam Sidi de-radicalization centre, Gombe before he was discharged after spending six months.
Thereafter, he traveled to Ibadan, Oyo state where he worked as commercial motorcycle rider (Okada rider) before going into drug trafficking and his eventual arrest along Abuja-Kaduna express road.
At the Lagos airport in Ikeja, operatives acting on intelligence intercepted a consignment of 11.90 kilograms of heroin and 500 grams of skunk concealed in deep freezers, which were part of a cargo that arrived from South Africa on Tuesday 7th March onboard Ethiopian airline via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The Agencys sniffer dogs were deployed to locate where the illicit drugs were hidden in the cargo and in no time, they identified the cartons packed in the deep freezers.
A total of four suspects that played active roles in the movement of the drugs and a truck driver have been arrested so far in connection with the seizure.
They include: Dairo Quam; Oluwaseun Ogunmene; Adeleke Abdulrasaq; Bamidele Adewale and Oluwafemi Ogunmeru.
Meanwhile, NDLEA operatives attached to the Gate C departure hall of the MMIA on Thursday 9th March intercepted a passenger, Aigbedion Philomena heading to Italy via Addis Ababa on an Ethiopian Airline flight. When her bags containing body cream, hair attachments, drinks, and some food items were searched, a total of 1.20kg tramadol capsules concealed inside gift wrapping sheet and covered with old daily newspapers were discovered.
At the Idiroko land border, NDLEA operatives acting on intelligence on Thursday 9th March
intercepted a commercial Toyota Camry Salon Car with registration number JJJ 756 HB (Lagos) along Ilase-Akoko road, Idiroko with 34 compressed jumbo size wraps of imported skunk weighing 17kg and concealed in two cooking gas cylinders. Two suspects in the car, Benjamin Ajose, 48 and Oluwatobiloba Ajayi, 37, were arrested.
In Akwa Ibom state, Mrs. Hope Iniobong David, 42, was arrested with bags of cannabis sativa weighing 1,112kg (1.1 tons) in her house at Ediene Abak in Abak Local Government Area, while operatives in Kogi state on Thursday 9th March recovered 25 cartons, containing 50,000 ampoules of pentazocine injection weighing 200kg in a Toyota Hiace bus marked LAM 652 LG, Kogi, travelling from Lagos to Abuja.
Also, in Ogun state, operatives arrested a female drug dealer, Bola Egbebi in Ota Local Government Area, with different quantities of Cannabis Sativa, Methamphetamine, Tramadol 225, Skuchies, Molly and Codeine cough syrup, while in Gombe state, another female drug dealer, Fatima Hassan (a.k.a Boss) was arrested on Saturday 11th March in her house at New Mile 3 area of Akko Local Government Area with three and half blocks of skunk weighing 3.245kg.
Two other female drug dealers: Folake Ladipo and Adeola Babatunde were arrested with 49.5kg skunk on Friday 10th March in Mushin area of Lagos state.
In Kwara, operatives on patrol along along Ilorin-Jebba highway on Tuesday 7th March arrested two suspects: Ismaila Saidu and Dahiru Abdullahi with 50 bags of cannabis sativa weighing 578 kilograms, while in the FCT Abuja, 15 suspects were transferred by the Nigerian Army with 35 bags of cannabis weighing 384.3kg.
A 56-year-old suspect, Shinayemà Kelenku was arrested at Tse-kelenku village, Logo Local Government Area, Benue with 36.7kg skunk, while in Delta state, operatives intercepted a suspect, Chimeze Ndukaire, 56, conveying psychotropic substances worth over 30 million naira in a white Toyota Hiace bus with registration number Lagos FST 279 XS coming from Onitsha to Warri.
The vehicle was intercepted on Friday 10th March at G.S.M junction, Asaba based on a tip-off.
Recovered from the bus include 267.3 litres of codeine (2,673 bottles); 25,110 pills of tramadol and other opioids.
In Kano state, NDLEA operatives on Saturday 11th March raided the Sabon-gari area of Kano where they arrested a suspect, Chukwuebuka Christopher and recovered from him 7,740 bottles of Codeine based syrup, measuring 774 litres, concealed inside 43 sacks of garlic.
Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brigadier General Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retired) commended the officers, men and women of MMIA, Idiroko, Edo, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom, Kogi, Ogun, Gombe, Lagos, Kwara, FCT, Benue, Delta and Kano Commands of the Agency for their diligence and commitment to work.
He charged them and their compatriots across other commands not to rest on their oars.
@views exclusive rights: Femi Babafemi, Director, Media and Advocacy, NDLEA Headquarters, Abuja, Sunday 12th March 2023.