By Albert Akpor
LAGOS â€”Â THE National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, said weekend that it was beaming its searchlight on Brazil-Nigeria route, stressing that some of the suspects arrested over the weekend with hard rugs were coming into the country via Brazil.
The new Commander of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Alhaji Hamza Umar, said he was poised to make theÂ nationâ€™s gateway hot for drug traffickers and their barons.
The commander who made the revelation at the arrest of five suspects who came into the country from Brazil, said he was shocked that in spite of the efforts aimed at discouraging traffickers on the illicit drug deal, they were not perturbed.Â Â He said the surveillance measure put in place moments he assumed duties at the airport had started yielded positive results with the arrest of six suspected drug traffickers that attempted to smuggle 6.397 kilograms of cocaine. Five of the arrested suspects were coming from Brazil while one was arrested on his way to Pakistan.
Hamza said the decision to beam searchlight on Brazil followed the revelation that coca plant from where cocaine is derived is produced in Brazil.
He said: â€œBrazil, like other drug producing countries, is crucial to us because they are high risk areas. The Agency has an effective control mechanism to detect traffickers.â€
On Pakistan, he said. â€œPakistan is a drug producing country. What they produce there is opium; they are now taking cocaine there in exchange for heroin. Though it is strange, but we were not caught napping.â€
The six suspects that tested positive when scanned with the United States donated body scanners were Onu Sunday, 30 (485 grammes), Ikeagwuonwu Ikemefuna Benneth,44 (1.20kgs), Nweke Francis Sunday, 31 (692 grammes) and Kennedy Ifeanyi Okonkwo, 35 (1.415 kgs),Â Aneke Chidi Brown, 31 (1.465 kgs) and Nwafor Francis Obinna, 31 (1.140 kgs).
They all admitted to the crime, claiming that financial hardship drove them into drug trafficking.
…intercepts two truck-loads of Indian hemp
Also, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Lagos CommandÂ has intercepted two tuck-loads of 253 bags of weeds confirmed to be cannabis, popularly known asÂ Indian hemp.
Sources at the agency said the interception took place at Iyana- Ipaja moments after the trucks arrived Lagos from Delta State.
The bags were smartly concealed in the false bottom of the two trucks created for the purpose.
Four suspects including the owner of one of the trucks with number plate XP 154 AGL were also arrested in connection with the crime.
Sources said anti-drug officers had earlier arrested a middle-aged man with 16 bags of the weeds which he claimed to have been bought from one of theÂ major dealers.
The state commander of the agency, Mr. Midala Wesley, said the arrest of the suspects followed a tip-off, saying with the mode of concealment, it would have been difficult if not impossible for anybody to detect.
â€œThis is the first time I would see such concealment in Lagos.Â I saw it once in Edo State, but that a truck had underneath a false bottom and loaded with such number of bags of Indian hemp is baffling,â€Â said.
The commander said the suspects had confessed to the crime, stressing that the agency was more than ever poised to fight the menace of illicit drug deals.