National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, chairman, Mohammed Buba Marwa, has announced that operatives of the agency, working in collaboration with other sister agencies, have intercepted a container load of illicit drugs ostensibly imported into the country with the connivance of ISIS. Captagon, a brand of Amphetamine, allegedly meant for insurgents’ camps in Nigeria, is traced to sources in the Middle East.
Marwa made the disclosure on Wednesday while briefing newsmen on recent seizures made possible by the synergy between operatives of the agency, other sister agencies and international partners.
The NDLEA boss explained the narcotics agents made the breakthrough from the Intel reports about the consignment it received from its international partners in March following which the agency kept tabs on its movement even though the container criss-cross several African countries before berthing in Apapa, Lagos Port.
“Sometime in March 2021, we received intel from our international partners on the shipment of illicit narcotics to Nigeria from the Middle East through the Apapa port.
“The container passed through three countries and was translated in a North African country but we kept track of it along with our partners,” Marwa stated.
The anti narcotics helmsman explained further that NDLEA made the first attempt to unravel the content of the container found initially to be marble polishing machines, also known as Sanders. However, the attempt yielded no illicit drug, a reason why operatives had to deploy sniffer dogs. The deployment paid off as the dovs led handlers into discovering a cache of the item hidden deep inside the rotor coil of one of the three machines. Subsequent examination of the other two machines unearthed more of the well concealed drugs, which reportedly cost $25 per tablet and valued at $11.3million, equivalent to N6 billion.
‘Further scrutiny with the NDLEA sniffer dogs on Monday, August 31, turned up a positive indication on the rotor coil of one of the three machines.
“The next day, Wednesday, 1st September, 18,560 tablets of drug suspected to be Amphetamine (Captagon) weighing 3.2kg was found deeply concealed in one of the coils.
“The following day, Thursday, September 2, the other two machines were dismantled, and in all, a total of 451, 807 tablets, weighing 74.119 kilograms, were discovered hidden inside their rotor coils.
“Going by the street value of about $25 per tablet, the importer would have raised $11.3million, which is equivalent to N6 billion.”
A visibly disturbed NDLEA boss noted that the country now has real reasons to be concerned about the escalating use of mind altering drug in the country. Citing Captagon as an example, Marwa explained that there are more reasons for concern as the drug, making its way into sub Sahara Africa for the first time, has been discovered to be a first option for insurgents in the Middle East.
“It may interest you to know that, as far as we know, this is the first time this drug is being brought into any African country South of the Sahara.
“This tiny, highly addictive pill, widely available across the Middle East, produces a euphoric intensity in users, allowing them to stay awake for days, making them fearless, predisposes them to reckless action that puts the lives of people around them in jeopardy.
“What should give any discerning Nigerian a nightmare concerning this drug is the fact that its production and sale is controlled by militias and large criminal groups in the Middle East.
“And beyond any doubt, Captagon has been linked to the escalation of the Syrian Civil War,” Marwa said.