By Kingsley Omonobi
Abuja—Several attempts by agents of drug cartels to break through the security at Nigeria’s main airports in Lagos and Abuja with large consignments of assorted illicit substances have been thwarted by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA.
No fewer than 11 members of the trafficking syndicates have been arrested in connection with the seizures.
Besides the 11 suspects, a 35-year-old physically challenged lady, Kasarachi Onumajuru, who hides under her condition to deal in drugs in Umudumaonu community, Mbaitoli Local Government Area of Imo State was also arrested May 29.
Director, Media and Advocacy, NDLEA, Mr Femi Babafemi, in a statement, yesterday, said the first on the list of those arrested in connection with seizures at the two airports is Ofor Chileobi.
“Chileobi had on May 20, attempted to export to Dubai, UAE, 200 blocks of cannabis Sativa weighing 30.20kg concealed in 40 sacks of bitter leaf.
“This was through the Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) export shed, a cargo wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos,” he said.
Babafemi said on the same day, 10 cartons of khat with a gross weight of 354.600kg were also seized at the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) import shed of the airport.
He said: “The following day, Saturday, May 21, a freight agent, Roland Orinami, was arrested by NDLEA operatives attached to the local wing of the Lagos airport.
“He was arrested with1.90kg Loud, a variant of cannabis, factory packed in some bottles while trying to send same via a flight to Abuja.
“A follow-up operation in Abuja led to the arrest of a taxi driver, Nsikak Evans, sent to collect the consignment. His confession also led to the arrest of the actual owner, Adesanya Olakunle Isaac at his house in the Life Camp area of Abuja.
“Adesanya who claims to be into Information Technology accepted ownership of the seized drug, which he said was meant for an upcoming birthday party of one of his friends.”
Babafemi said another freight agent, Moshood Olaide, was arrested at the NAHCO export shed of the MMIA when he presented a cargo containing psychotropic substances heading to Dubai on May 24.
He said the illegal consignment was packed into other items such as can drinks, liquid bitters and other non-controlled drugs.
He also said that the seized drugs included Tramadol 225mg, Rohypnol and MDMA, adding that a follow-up operation led to the arrest of another suspect linked to the crime, Olagboye Selim on May 27.
“The previous day, Monday, May 23 another freight agent, Lasebikan Gbenga was arrested with 200 bottles of pentazocine injection, with a brand name “Drutapent” weighing 1.05kg.
“The consignment was heading to the United States of America, “ he said.
In the same vein, Babafemi said another agent, Akuta Lucy was on May 26 arrested at the SAHCO export shed while attempting to export 14.75kg of khat.
He said the drugs were concealed inside other vegetable leaves and food condiments such as bitter leaf, scent leaf, and pepper, all packed in bags for shipment to the United Kingdom.
“At the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, a 45-year-old Ezika Nicholas from Ichida, Anocha area of Anambra State, was arrested on May 26 for ingesting 60 pellets of cocaine.
“This was weighing 1.037kg on arrival from Addis Ababa on board Ethiopian airline.”
“Ezika who claims he’s into shoe business before his arrest travelled to Ethiopia on May 23.
“This was on the invitation of the person who gave him the drug, which he ingested before returning into the waiting arms of NDLEA officers at the Abuja airport, “ he said.
Babafemi reported the Chairman, NDLEA, Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa, as commending the officers and men of MMIA and NAIA Commands of the agency for sustaining the heat on drug cartels.