The Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have arrested fifteen persons including Nigerians and foreigners in the last six months with 187,791 kilogrammes of assorted drugs in Lagos state.
This was revealed by the Commander, NDLEA Special Area Command Mr Ameh Inalegwu, on the occasion of Terminal Owners/Operators engagement, in its War Against Drug Abuse, WADA campaign, held at the Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA multipurpose hall, Apapa.
Inalegwu said some of the arrests and seizures were reportedly made in terminals around the Apapa area of Lagos.
A breakdown of the arrest showed that three suspects: Chinedu Agbougwu, Chukwuemeka Kingsley and Romanus Onah, were found in possession of 74.119 kilogrammes of Amphetamine, concealed in Rotors machine, last September.
In October 2021, 14 persons were nabbed with 32.9 kilogrammes of cocaine concealed in granulated sugar, inside a vessel. Also in November 2021, three expatriates: Fidel Gerapusco, Antolin Ortiz, Edgal Bechayda and 25 others, were arrested with 13.65kg of cocaine in granulated sugar, inside another vessel.
There were four different seizures of assorted drugs in the month of February 2021 alone. Statistics showed that on February 2, 2022, Cold Caps weighing 4,352.43 kilogrammes with codeine-based drugs weighing 14,080.00 kilogrammes and cough syrup with codeine weighing 8,080 litres were seized by the Special Area Command.
On February 8, 2021, three seizures were made the same day. They included 2,493 cartoons of cough syrup with codeine and 383 cartoons of Barcadin with codeine.
Inalegwu explained that the stakeholder’s meeting became necessary, owing to the fact that some of the arrests and seizures were made at different terminals under the command’s watch.
He said, “It is more alarming that some of the arrests and seizures were done at your Terminals. The most unfortunate and frustrating thing is the claim of not knowing the importers or the owners of these containers. It is our hope that this forum will critically look at the issue of know-your-customer (KYC).
“This engagement is in the realization of the fact that the Agency cannot win this war alone. This event is therefore aimed at the mobilization of strategic partnership for a coordinated response to effectively combat the drug challenges. The focus is for a joined-up approach with all relevant stakeholders for a sustainable response against the trafficking and use of illicit drugs”.
In her keynote address, the Director, Seaport Operations, Omolade Faboyede, who described the ceaseless influx of substances of abuse into the country through the seaports, as alarming, revealed that the quantity of Tramadol and Cough Syrup with Codeine, as well as other narcotics drugs and psychotropics substances seized at the seaport, outnumbered the air and land seizures by the NDLEA.
She informed that “ the administration of Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. General Mohamed Buba Marwa (rtd.), has risen to the occasion by using all the assets of national power to address and redress the alarming drug situation.
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“Today’s event is an extension of War Against Drug Abuse, WADA which is like taking the message to the doorstep of some of the most critical stakeholders. We should all know why engagement within the Maritime industry is very crucial. It is for the same reason why the merchants of death find the Maritime industry very attractive to plying their illicit trade. The volume of drugs that can be moved through a single shipment takes any other mode of transportation several times over to do so. If we are to effectively block the Maritime corridor, we would have achieved a milestone.
“The objective of this engagement, among others, is to solicit the support and cooperation of Terminal Owners and Operators to join hands with NDLEA to block the Maritime Space. Agreed that you are only a stakeholder but you are a critical stakeholder. What we want to achieve is to build a critical mass of resistance against the heinous drug criminals”, she stated.