The month of June appears to be a harvest season for operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, who according to available records, have been recording unprecedented arrests of illicit drug dealers across the country. Within the first few weeks of the month, the agency has arrested drug dealers more drug dealers than it has recorded in recent months.
In one spectacular fashion, the agents swooped on a hire commercial cab at the Total Garden, Ibadan, the Oyo state capital, where they arrested two middle aged ladies, Mary Peter, 40 and Mercy Oladele, 39. Acting on a tip-off, the agents nabbed the duo with seven bags of cannabis sativa which weighed 77.23kg. They confessed to have brought the substance into the ancient city from Ogbese in Ondo state onward to a receiver, simply identified as Alhaji who they earlier supplied 2 bags.
In another intelligence based operation, NDLEA operatives bagged one of its own when they picked up a serving officer, Abayomi Popoola who reportedly sold assorted illicit drugs to students of an unnamed federal university in Ogun State.
Popoola, who serves at the Lagos command, was arrested on Wednesday after NDLEA conducted a surveillance on his wife’s shop at the Camp area of Abeokuta.
According to NDLEA sources, anti drug agents trailed one of his couriers, one Ogah, to the shop at about 8pm and subsequently arrested him with six pinches of Colorado weighing 1.17grams. Shortly after, they also nabbed Popoola, who is said to be on the agency’s watch list. He was arrested with different illicit drugs, including 17 bottles of codeine, 22.26 grams of cannabis, 230 tablets of tramadol weighing 98grams, 61 tablets of flunitrazepam weighing 23.72 grams; 113 tablets of molly weighing 48.16grams and 43.92 grams of sex drops.
In a statement issued by the agency’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, NDLEA described the arrest of Popoola and Ogah as a breakthrough even though some student union officials of the institution blocked the agency’s team with their official vehicle. The hours-long standoff was later resolved with the operatives successfully moving the suspects to its facility.
In another development, the agency’s task force on illicit drugs picked up one Ezenyeche Kingsley Ebuka, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport for attempting to import heroine into the country.
Ebuka, a Nigerian who was on his way from Pakistan, got into the operatives’ nest on the same day as he was found with five pellets of the substance which weighed 250grams all of which were neatly tucked away in his anus.
The suspect who arrived the D wing of the airport’s arrival hall via Turkish airline flight from Pakistan was arrested during inward checks on the passengers on the Pakistani flight.
A day earlier, the agency nabbed one Adelodun Kamaldeen in the GRA area of Ilorin, Kwara state, with a parcel containing 10.5 grams of cocaine and another 4.8 grams of heroin.
In Kaduna state, a drug trafficker, Segun Abraham was arrested at Panteka area of the state. Abraham, who was nabbed with 211.500kg of skunk on June 17, with 211.500kg, was on his way to Kano state.
The next day, 18 June, operatives of the NDLEA, Oyo state Command, raided the residence of one Alhaji Faruq at Elebu area, Akala expressway, Oluyole LGA, Ibadan. The operatives who were acting on intelligence, recovered 43 ampoules of methylphenidate.
June’s harvest of illicit drug dealer arrests is a continuation of a trend which took off with the appointment of former Lagos state military administrator, Brig-Gen Buba Marwa. The retired Army General who briefed the media as part of activities marking International World Drug Day, disclosed that his agency picked up 2,180 drug traffickers in in the last 5 months adding that the agency has over 2 million kilograms of assorted illicit drugs in its custody, all of which were seized within the same period.
June 26, is set aside and marked annually as part of activities to strengthen action and cooperation in efforts geared towards achieving a world free of drug abuse.
While calling for the cooperation of every right thinking Nigerian, the NDLEA Boss disclosed that his agency began a deliberate offensive against drug cartels across the country five months ago which he said has so far yielded tremendous positive results.
“We have filed at least 2,100 drug cases in court, recording over 500 convictions with 1,549 cases pending in court. These results have given us big insights into the magnitude of the drug problem. The work ahead is enormous. NDLEA cannot win the drug war without the help of citizens.
We need the cooperation of all and sundry. We all owe Nigeria the duty of ensuring that drug abuse and trafficking do not thrive in this country,” he said.
Marwa pointed out that the fight against drug trafficking and abuse is an urgent assignment for every Nigerian given that it will help put a stop to youth radicalisation, violent extremism, cultism, banditry, wanton kidnapping and among others, insurgency. While commending other sister agencies, foreign partners and other stakeholders for their cooperation, he noted that drug abuse and trafficking must be dealt a decisive blow.
“To win the drug war, NDLEA must synergise with other law enforcement and sister agencies and stakeholders for maximum impact. With your support, our victory is assured,” he said.
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