By Femi Babafemi
NDLEA operatives on Friday 18th August intercepted Twenty Million US Dollar notes ($20 million) suspected to be counterfeit during a stop and search operation along Abaji – Lokoja road, within the Federal Capital Territory. The suspected fake money was recovered from a bus coming from Lagos to Abuja, while the 53-year-old driver of the vehicle, Onyebuchi Nlededin was arrested.
The previous day, Thursday 17th August, Jude Ndubuisi, 52, was arrested with 2.2 kilograms of methamphetamine during a raid operation at Kabusa village, FCT. The suspect was initially arrested with 20.75kg cannabis on 7th July 2022 and was on court bail following his ongoing prosecution when he was nabbed for yet another drug crime. Another raid of two notorious drug joints within the FCT: Dei Dei and Tora-Bora Hills led to the recovery of 82.8kg skunk, 1.8kg rohypnol and 1.2kg diazepam on Wednesday 16th August.
While a teenager, Boniface Odinakachukwu, 19, was apprehended with 99.4kg skunk at Isikwe Road, Achi in Oji-River Local Government Area, Enugu state on Friday 18th August, a wanted teenage bandit, Aliyu Mohammed Altine, 19, was arrested by NDLEA operatives along Illela- Sokoto road with some wraps of skunk on Thursday 17th August. The suspect who is on the wanted list of the police has since been transferred to the police in Sokoto state for further investigation.
Multi-billion naira worth of illicit drugs were again seized at a warehouse tucked in the midst of popular International Trade Fair Complex, Alaba, Ojo area of Lagos by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA on Saturday 19th August.
Recovered from the warehouse owned by a wanted billionaire drug baron, include: 1.4 million (1,400,000) pills of tramadol 225mg weighing 826kgs; 3.2 million (3,200,000) pills of codeine with gross weight of 3,360kgs; and 2,841 cartons of codeine syrup containing 284,100 bottles with 28,410 litres of the psychoactive substance, with a combined street value of Four Billion Eight Hundred and Twenty Million Five Hundred Thousand Naira (₦4,820,500,000) only. During the operation that lasted hours, a suspect, Paulinus Ojukwu, who is Chief Security Officer to the wanted drug baron who parades as automobile spare parts dealer, was arrested and now assisting ongoing investigation.
The latest drug warehouse bust is coming on the heels of the arrest of a drug baroness, Faith Ebele Nwankwo who was nabbed on Wednesday 9th August with Two Million Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand (2,750,000) pills of tramaking, a brand of tramadol 225mg and 250mg recovered from her residence at House 6, C close, 3rd Avenue, Festac area of Lagos and a warehouse located at Plot 3432 Sola Akinsola Street, Divine Estate, Amuwo Odofin, Lagos.
In Osun, NDLEA operatives in the early hours of Saturday 19th August destroyed clusters of cannabis farms measuring about 3.49000 hectares (over 7.5 tons) at Mopatedo in Ifedayo local government area of the State. Two suspects: Sunday Otogbo, 40, and Peter Andel Makra, 35, were arrested inside the cannabis farms. Additional 30kg cannabis weeds and 16.9kg of cannabis seeds were also recovered from the farms.
At least, three suspects: Ndubuisi Okorie, 44; Ebilima Emmanuel, 38, and Okechukwu Anthony Smart, 40, were arrested in connection with the seizure of 168kg cannabis consignment from them when their vehicle was intercepted along Owerri-Onitsha expressway, Imo state on Saturday 19th August. Another shipment of controlled drugs containing 6,000 capsules of tramadol, 1,200 tablets of swinol, 155 bottles of codeine syrup and 20 tabs of Molly was equally seized on the same road on Sunday 13th August while a follow-up operation in Oyigbo area of Port Harcourt, Rivers state led to the arrest of the owner of the consignment, Remigius Ogechukwu, 33.
While expressing his satisfaction with the professional conduct of the officers and men involved in the Lagos, FCT, Sokoto, Osun, Imo and Enugu operations as well as the results of the raids, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brigadier General Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retired) charged operatives of the Lagos command to ensure that the fleeing baron is smoked out from his hiding to face charges. He urged them and their colleagues across the country to intensify the heat on drug cartels.
Views exclusive rights: Femi Babafemi
Director, Media and Advocacy, NDLEA, Headquarters Abuja, Sunday 20th August 2023.