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4,752kg cannabis concealed in gas tanker seized by NDLEA

Femi Babafemi, NDLEA spokesperson, in a statement on Sunday, said the illicit drug was loaded into the tanker in Ondo state.

Babafemi said four suspects — Efe Abel Mikel, Ebigide Cyril, Ejechi Monday and Friday Benson Chukwudi — were arrested in connection with the seizure.

Babafemi said the operatives also smashed an international drug syndicate with networks in Nigeria, South Africa and Thailand.

He said five members of the syndicate were arrested in a two-week intelligence-led operations in Lagos, Abia and Anambra states.

“The unravelling of the drug cartel started on Sunday 20th April when their cargo of four big suitcases arrived at the NAHCO shed on an Air Peace airline flight from Johannesburg, South Africa,” the statement reads.

“After days of close monitoring and investigation, the first suspect, Umeh Chisom Peter was arrested on Wednesday 24th April after he showed up to pick two of the suitcases containing Loud, a synthetic strain of cannabis owned by a Thailand-based member of the syndicate, Obum Michael.

The consignment of four parcels was concealed in false bottoms of the two suitcases, while the four suitcases contain a total of 17.6 kilograms of Loud and drug candies.

“Another member of the syndicate, Mrs Chiwendu Uche Ugbe whose South Africa-based husband, Aloytus Uche Ugbe sent some of the consignments, was traced to Anambra state where NDLEA officers arrested her on Saturday 27th April while attempting to collect the drug parcels sent to her by her husband.”

Babafemi added that two other suspects – Onyejakor Francis Chimezie and Naaji Valentine Chukwukere – with links to the cartel were also arrested in parts of Lagos on April 29.

He said their arrest led to another operation in Abia state where one Chinazo Osigwe was arrested when she was to pick up some parcels containing illicit drugs sent by her husband, Osigwe Chidiebere Anthony, who equally operates from South Africa.

The NDLEA spokesperson said two suspects – Aminu Umar and Anas Umar — were arrested in Kaduna with 207.1 kg of cannabis sativa in their house on April 29.

He also said operatives arrested one Suleiman Usman, a 51-year-old ex-convict, in Osun state.

He said the suspect is currently facing trial for another drug offence at the federal high court in Osogbo, the state capital.

“At the time of his latest arrest at Okinni town, Suleiman was found in possession of 4.4 grams of cocaine, 28.5kg of cannabis sativa, 20 tabs of rophynol weighing 6.2 grams and 812 pills of tramadol,” Babafemi said.

“The following day, Thursday 2nd May, NDLEA operatives at Agbara checkpoint, Seme border, Badagry Lagos intercepted a Toyota Camry car marked KJA 825 FT conveying 113 jumbo parcels of cannabis with a total weight of 64kg. The driver, Charles Amoni, 45, was promptly arrested.

“In Bauchi state, NDLEA operatives on patrol along Bauchi-Jos road arrested one Clement Chukwuka with 595 bottles of codeine; 38,260 pills of opioids such as tramadol, rohypnol and diazepam, while another suspect, Friday Ibochi was nabbed at NDLEA checkpoint, Aloma junction, Otukpa, Benue state on Tuesday 30th April with 66 blocks of cannabis weighing 33kg.

Similarly, in Bayelsa, Ifeanyi Stanley was arrested with 12kg of the same substance at Swali Jetty, Yenagoa.”

Buba Marwa, NDLEA chairman, commended the officers for their outstanding feats in the past weeks.

Marwa encouraged them to intensify their war against drug abuse (WADA) advocacy across the country.