By Michael Eboh
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Friday, said it has commenced a nationwide clampdown of flashpoints where hard drugs are trafficked and sold to criminals and users alike.
In a statement in Abuja, the NDLEA said the ongoing raid of such flashpoints was designed to cripple and dismantle such criminal hideouts ahead of the elections commencing today, thereby, depriving troublemakers of the drugs they normally use to spike their systems.
Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the NDLEA, Colonel Mustapha Abdallah (rtd), further stated that during the nationwide raid, operatives of the Agency in Akwa Ibom State arrested one Okon Bassey, at Mbo Local Government, and allegedly recovered from him 244 Permanent Voter Cards belonging to different people and a sum of N310,000.
Abdullah added that the Akwa Ibom command also arrested 120 suspected hard drug dealers found to be in possession of 51 kilogrammes, KG, of cannabis, 259 grammes, GM, of heroin, 17gm of cocaine, 500gm of Tramadol Diazepam and Polypro.
He said, “These suspects were arrested during the pre-election raid by operatives of the Agency in order to reduce acts of violence during the elections.
“The efforts of our eagle eyed-officers also paid off with the arrest of one Joy Adams, a notorious heroin dealer in the state for allegedly being in possession of 239gm of heroin.
“The suspected PVC thief had been handed over to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for further investigation, while others caught with hard drugs had been charged to court.”
The NDLEA chairman gave kudos to the gallant officers and men of the Agency who, according to him, were currently working round the clock to ensure that every flashpoint where hard drugs are sold to criminals is raided nationwide ahead of elections.
He said, “Despite the challenges being faced by our officers and men in terms of manpower and logistics, they have performed creditably in clearing political thugs and drug addicts’ hideout within few days of the sting operations.”
“It will be recalled that only last Sunday, four officers of the Agency were murdered by suspected drug dealers in Ifon Ondo State while on search of drugs being transported from Edo
State to the Northern part of the country.”
Furthermore, Abdallah disclosed that in Kano, the NDLEA had dislodged 35 drug joints and hotspots, adding that the success recorded in Kano State was due to the efforts of its officers during their special operations to keep the state free from drug use during the 2019 general elections.
He said, “Several joints where criminals and political thugs hatch their violent plans that were raided include Plaza, Sanya-Olu, Kabuga, Rimin-Kebe and Danzaki Village. Others are Sauna, Wurare, Aisami, SabonTiti, Dorayi, Hauren-Gadagi, Kwanar Dan-Marke Motor park, Chalawa, Madobi, Ring-Road, Farawa Village, Mariri Motor park and Kofar- Ruwa, among others.”
During the raid, the NDLEA boss noted that a 42-year-old suspect, Okechukwu Echefu, was arrested with nine cartons of fake Coartem tablets, seven cartons of fake Augmentin tablets, two cartons of Laclox tablets and two cartons containing brand package and label of fake drugs.
According to him, preliminary investigation revealed that the drugs were imported from South Africa by yet-to-be identified Barons still at large, adding that the case was to be handed over to NAFDAC.
“NDLEA has resolved to continue with these raids until these criminal flashpoints are completely routed out nationwide, he said”.
In addition, Abdallah said the Agency recently uncovered illegal hard drugs laboratory in Ibadan, Oyo state where the production of skushi, a derivative potpourri of illicit and controlled drugs, was being produced illegally.
“Skushi is a cocktail drink that contains a mixture of different substances, including cannabis sativa, codeine, tramadol and watermelon,” he explained.
“During the raid, the suspects that were arrested include one 20-year-old Djeba Wisdom and 300 grammes of cannabis sativa, 36 cartons of cough syrup, 10 cartons of blackcurrant drink and 1910 tablets of tramadol were recovered from the illicit factory located at Crown Height Area of Ojoo, Ibadan.
“The Agency also recovered a drum containing 290 litres of already produced skushi, laptops, five pumping machines and two big plastic containers,” he added.
Abdallah appealed to all Nigerians particularly the electorates to go about their electoral duties peacefully as the Agency had stepped up its raids on drugs dealers’ hideouts across the country to reduce violent crimes and ballot boxes snatching during elections.
“We are all aware that political thugs and criminals are always high on drugs before committing heinous crimes. Unfortunately, this is a bad season for them as we shall go extra mile to rid the nation of illicit drugs,” he said, while he enjoined members of the public to volunteer credible information to the Agency.