No fewer than 14,481,519 pills of tramadol and bottles of codeine syrup worth over N13bn in street value have been recovered by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency in three major busts of drug cartels operating in Amuwo Odofin, Idumota and the SAHCO shed of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos State.
The anti-narcotics agency noted that the three intelligence-led operations began with the raid of House 8/10 Hon. Wahuha Avenue, Divine Estate, Ago Palace area of Amuwo Odofin on Sunday, October 29, where 490,000 pills of tramadol and 81,519 bottles of codeine syrup measuring 4, 510, 000mls were recovered.
In a similar operation on Tuesday, October 31, the NDLEA operatives swooped on a secret warehouse operated by a billionaire Idumota trader, Nwaoha Anayo, located at Onitire, Aguda area of Surulere where 12,700,000pills of tramadol were recovered.
In the same vein, at least six members of a syndicate using their official cover to facilitate the smuggling of illicit drugs through the Skyway Aviation Handling Company warehouse at the Lagos airport into the country have been arrested and 1,210,000 pills of tramadol seized from them in a painstaking operation that lasted for weeks.
The spokesperson for the NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, revealed the developments in a statement obtained by our correspondent on Sunday.
Babafemi noted that six suspects – Oladele Sanya-Olu; Lawal Itunu Temitope; Sanamo Daniel; Udeh Monday; Musa Mutalib and Unege Icibor, in relation to the illegal drug trade through SAHCO, were already in the NDLEA custody, while three other suspects – Sarki Salami; Abdullahi Aliyu (aka Aboki); and Monday Anwal, were now on the run and wanted by the NDLEA.
At the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, the NDLEA operatives on Sunday, October 29, intercepted another businessman, 50-year-old Nwokolo Ifeanyi, during the outward clearance of Air France flight AF 878 to Amsterdam, the Netherlands via Paris, France at the boarding gate and was body scanned.
Babafemi revealed that the result turned out to be positive for illicit drug ingestion.
He noted, “The suspect who travelled from Lagos to board the flight was subsequently kept under observation for some days during which he excreted a total of 86 pellets of heroin weighing 1.330kilograms.
“Similarly, NDLEA operatives of the Directorate of Operations and General Investigation, attached to courier firms on Monday, October 30, intercepted 22 parcels of cocaine concealed in the walls of a carton containing sewn local fabrics popularly called Aso Oke, heading to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia,”
Meanwhile, the NDLEA operatives have arrested three blind men operating an illicit drug ring between Lagos and Kano, while another blind member of the syndicate is still at large.
The lid was blown off the group following the arrest of a blind suspect, Adamu Hassan, 40, along the Gwagwalada Expressway, Abuja with 12kgs of skunk on his way from Lagos to Kano on Saturday, October 28.
The spokesperson for the NDLEA noted that investigations, however, established that he was totally oblivious of the content of the bag handed to him to deliver in Kano.
“Follow-up operations then led to the arrest of the arrowhead of the syndicate, Bello Abubakar, 45, who is also blind. In his statement, Bello, who is married with five children, said he has been living in Lagos for 30 years but started the illicit drug business five years ago.
“Another suspect, Muktar Abubakar, 59, who is equally blind, has been living in Lagos for 40 years and married to three wives with 14 children. Both Muktar Abubakar and Bello Abubakar are joint owners of the business, while the third suspect, Akilu Amadu, 25, also blind, equally contributes money to the criminal trade and was indeed the one who delivered the consignment to Adamu at the motor park in Lagos to deliver in Kano. Another blind suspect who is the expected receiver of the consignment in Kano, Mallam Aminu, is currently at large,” Babafemi noted.
While operatives in Osun State on Saturday, November 4, stormed the Obada sawmill forest in Owena-Ijesa, Oriade LGA where they arrested a suspect, Monday Sylvester, 37, on a 6.01 hectares of cannabis farm which was destroyed and 489.8kgs already processed plant recovered, their colleagues in Edo State raided a trans-loading point inside Avbiosi forest, Owan West LGA where 603 kilograms of the illicit substance were seized.
Also, the NDLEA officers in Ogun State on Friday, recovered a Toyota Sienna bus from a ditch, at the Ajebo area, along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. A search of the vehicle led to the seizure of 460kgs of the same substance, while a total of 116.5kgs of cannabis sativa belonging to a suspect at large were seized at Olagunju, Mushin area of Lagos.
Madukwe B. Nwabuisi is an accomplished journalist renown for his fearless reporting style and extensive expertise in the field. He is an investigative journalist, who has established himself as a kamikaze reporter.