By Mary BASSEY, Senior Investigator Correspondent Lagos/
LAGOS-THERE seems to be no end in sight to various crooked means of concealing hard drugs meant for export in desperate move to beat eagle-eyed narcotic operatives as the recent strange discovery at the Lagos airport clearly suggests.
To this end, a 56-year-old widow and mother of four, Mrs. Ajisegiri Kehinde Sidika has been arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos over her attempt to traffic 400grams of cocaine concealed in her footwear to Makkah, Saudi Arabia.
This happens even as one Ahmadu Sulaimon was also arrested at the SAHCOL shed, Ikeja for attempting to export tubbers of yam laced with hard drugs inside through an agent at the airport. Operatives say they were still in shock how tubbers of yam could have in its heart, hards masterfully concealed.
A statement by the Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi said the widow who claims to be a businesswoman trading in adults and childrens wears on Lagos Island was intercepted on Sunday 13th November while trying to board a Qatar Airways flight going to Saudi Arabia via Doha. Upon a critical examination of the pair of sandals she was wearing, two parcels of cocaine weighing 400grams were recovered from them.
Femi added, “Anti-narcotics officers attached to the SAHCO export shed of the airport equally foiled attempts by traffickers to smuggle consignments of cannabis and ecstasy tablets concealed in three tubers of yam going to Dubai, UAE on Wednesday 17th Nov. The freight agent who presented the yams for export, Inegbu Ugochi Akunna was promptly arrested while the consignor, Ahmodu Sulaimon was also nabbed thereafter.
At the Brawal container shed of Kirikiri lighter terminal in Lagos, NDLEA operatives equally intercepted cartons of deadly drinks in a container marked APZU3671697 during a joint examination with Customs. Though the bill of lading indicated that the container originated from Cape town, South Africa, a search of the the shippers’ database showed it was loaded from Antwerp, Belgium.
A full inspection of the container on Thursday 18th Nov showed a total of five cartons of beverages labeled as Euphoria cannabis beer and three cartons of cannabis energy drink were found. Other drinks in the container include: 21 cartons of a drink labeled as monkey shoulder; 20 cartons of dead man’s finger; and 139 of champagne fruit, among others.”
He continued, “In the same vein, attempts by a tricycle parts seller, Ayoade Kehinde Tayo to send 1kg of Tramadol 225mg and Rohypnol to Istanbul, Turkey via Cairo on an Egypt Airline flight same day were also frustrated by NDLEA operatives who arrested him. He was at the airport to hand over the drugs hidden inside a bag of food items to an intending passenger, Idowu Ayoade but was arrested before he succeeded in doing that.An intending passenger to Oman via Asky airline, Agbamuche Bright Nkeonye and a lady, Adeoye Oluwakemi Fatimo who accompanied him to present a bag containing varieties of foodstuffs and body lotion which were used to conceal 1.10kg Cannabis and some Rohypnol capsules were also arrested at the departure hall of the Lagos airport on Thursday 18th November.
In a related development, not less than 5.6 kilograms of methamphetamine, cocaine and tramadol were discovered in items like play station, bicycles, motor propeller and local fabrics packaged for export to Australia and Cyprus through some courier firms in Lagos. Two suspects, Gabriel Emeka and Vintura Grillo have been arrested in a follow up operation linked to one of the seizures.
In Niger state, NDLEA operatives on stop and search operation along Mokwa-Jebba road on Saturday 12th Nov. arrested two suspects; Ismail Musa and Jidda Abbas with 10,780 bottles of Akuskura, a new psychoactive substance concealed inside two Toyota Camry saloon cars marked AGL 861 GS Lagos and KMK 118 SC Bayelsa. The consignment loaded in Ibadan, Oyo state, was going to Abuja for distribution.
While operatives intercepted 25,000 capsules of Tramadol in Plateau and arrested the owner, Ifeanyi Nweanwe, a beer parlour operator in a follow up operation in Bauchi, pharmaceutical opioids worth more than N30million were intercepted in a commercial bus in Asaba, Delta state on Thursday 18th Nov.
In Ondo state, operatives stormed the Ijare forest, in Ifedore LGA on Friday 19th Nov where a total of 600.5kgs of cannabis weed and seeds were recovered, while 142.8kgs of the same substance were seized when NDLEA officers raided the zone 3 motor park in Wuse area of Abuja. In the same vein, operatives on routine stop and search patrol along Owerri-Onitsha road arrested a suspect Nwankwo Emmanuel, with 25 blocks of cannabis sativa weighing 12.5kgs in a commercial bus going to Port Harcourt from Lagos.
In his reaction to the arrests and seizures in the past week, Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), CON, OFR, commended the officers and men of the MMIA, Tincan, Delta, FCT, Niger, Ondo, and Plateau Commands as well as those of the Directorate of Operations and General Investigations, DOGI, for their passion, commitment and remarkable efforts to get results in their areas of responsibility. He enjoined them and their compatriots across the country to stay focused and resilient in the pursuit of the Agencys corporate goal.”