Category Archives: NATIONAL DRUG LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY
Statements, Actions and Achievements by NDLEA
On 22 August, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) reported that it arrested 142 persons in connection with various drug-related offences, within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), from January to June this year.
In an interview with the Abuja-based newspaper, Daily Trust, the agency’s Commander for the FCT, Mrs. Omolade Faboyede-Omole, also said that over that period, the Command seized 1,966.741 kg of Indian hemp, 28.7 kg of cocaine and 123.5 kg of psychotropic substance.
Mrs Faboyede-Omole said some of the drugs were being sold by mallams hawking biscuits. She said: “Sometimes, they conceal them in sacks. The recent raid carried out by our operatives led to the interception of a wheel barrow carrying biscuits, with seven sachets of illicit drugs identified as tramadol concealed under the biscuits”.
She further disclosed that 34 of the offenders arrested were actually drug addicts, and that they were being rehabilitated at various centres in the Federal Territory. Others, she said, would soon be prosecuted. She added that the NDLEA would not relent in its anti-drug campaign, and that a squad of the FCT Command was still combing the entire Territory to identify and arrest drug traffickers.
On 4 August, a Nigerian traveling to Malaysia died aboard an aircraft, as a result of drugs he had ingested, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing at the international airport in Mumbai, India.
A report issued in Lagos on 6 August, by Nigeria’s National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), identified the man as 25-year-old Chilaka Ogbonna Emmanuel. The agency said he had left Lagos on 2 August and was on a flight from Doha, Qatar to Malaysia, when the incident happened.
The report said: “His sudden death arising from drug ingestion forced the pilot to make an emergency landing in India where he was confirmed dead in a hospital”. It added that “A post mortem conducted revealed that he had ingested narcotics”, but did not specify exactly which type of narcotics or what quantity he had ingested. The agency said it was investigating the incident.
The NDLEA report is an official confirmation from Nigeria, of the incident which had been reported in India two days earlier.
On 4 August, authorities at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (formerly Sahar International Airport) in Mumbai, India, had reported that a Nigerian, identified as “Chika Imaneal”, traveling with 67 “drug capsules” in his stomach, died on board a flight. They said the pilot of the aircraft requested an emergency landing after the passenger started vomiting and fell unconscious.
The reports said medical experts at the airport declared him dead on arrival and that airport police registered the incident as a case of “accidental death”. The reports added that the body was sent to Cooper Hospital for post-mortem and that doctors at the hospital recovered plastic capsules from his stomach, which were then sent for forensic examination to ascertain their contents. A medical expert said the man may have died of “poisoning” after a capsule burst inside his stomach.
On 30 July, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) arrested three men in connection with the trafficking of hard drugs between Nigeria and Malaysia. The three men were arrested at Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, Nigeria’s largest business city.
Two of the men – Sylvester Henry Onovo and Onyedika Emmanuel Ufiri – were arrested while attempting to smuggle 2.575kg of methamphetamine to Malaysia.
Onovo 26, an auto parts dealer at Ladipo auto parts market, Lagos, had ingested 67 wraps of methamphetamine weighing 1.275kg. Ufiri, 36, a trader at the Trade Fair Complex, also in Lagos, ingested 77 wraps of methamphetamine weighing 1.300kg.
The third suspect, Nnamdi John Kingsley, 31, was nabbed at the Nigeria Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) shed section of the airport, while taking delivery of a 32-inch plasma television imported from Malaysia, which had 1.150kg of heroin concealed inside.
On how and why they got entangled in the narcotics web, each of the arrested persons had a story to tell. Onovo said: “This is my first time of trafficking in narcotics. I did not know the implications. I wanted to use the money to buy spare parts from Malaysia”. Nnamdi Kingsley, who operates a video club on Port Harcourt Road, Aba, Abia State, said his business partners in Malaysia sent the heroin to him because he needed money. In his words: “My business partners sent the drug to me inside the television. They told me to clear the television set and raise money after selling the drug”. The NDLEA officials knew those were obviously fairy tales.
Reacting to the arrests, the Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade, said his agency was determined to sustain its relentess campaign against drug trafficking in the country, through diligent investigation, arrest, seizure and prosecution of suspects. He said: “We shall continue to arrest drug traffickers, seize their drugs and prosecute them. The Agency will also not relent in anti-drug enlightenment programmes to guide members of the public”.
On 23 July, the widow of the late Afro beat musician, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, and two others were arrested by officers of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), over alleged possession of 340 grammes of marijuana (Indian hemp) in Ikeja, Lagos.
The NDLEA said Mrs Najite Anikulapo-Kuti, 45, was arrested with 50 grammes of the substance; another woman, Helen Richard, 36, was allegedly arrested with 170 grammes, while Mr. Mike Arinze, 26, was found with 120 grammes.
Announcing the arrests, the Commander of the NDLEA in Lagos State, Alhaji Sule Aliyu, said the agency acted on a tip-off. He said Najite and the other two suspects were found with the dried weed at her residence on Gbemisola Street, Ikeja. He added that the weed had already tested positive to marijuana.
A tearful Najite told newsmen she had been selling drinks at her residence, but was pressured into drug sale as a result of domestic needs. The second suspect, Helen, once also a Fela dancer but now a single mother, similarly said she was pushed to sell marijuana out of necessity. The third, Mr Arinze, said he had been selling marijuana in night clubs, as his source of livelihood. He said he was drinking beer at Najite’s residence when the NDLEA officers apprehended him and found the weed in his pocket.
Najite was one of the 27 dancers, composers and singers Fela married in a highly-controversial mass wedding in 1978, to mark the anniversary of the attack on his Kalakuta Republic a year earlier by the military government of Gen Olusegun Obasanjo. However, when Fela was later jailed by the General Muhammadu Buhari regime in 1985, most of the wives left. After his release from prison in 1986, Najite was one of the only four that remained with him until his death in 1997. But the other three, Iyase, Funmilayo and Fehintola, died in 2000, 2005 and 2006 respectively. Najita is therefore often referred to as Fela’s “last queen standing”.
The NDLEA said she and the other suspects will be charged to court shortly, once investigations are completed.
On 26 June, the Edo State Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) reported that it seized 17,869kg of cannabis sativa (marijuana), as well as 10 vehicles and two motorcycles that were being used by drug dealers, between January and June this year.
Addressing newsmen in Benin, at a seminar organised to mark this year’s United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the Commander of the NDLEA in Edo State, Mr. Fred Ezeorah, said the agency arrested 82 suspects, and had 21 persons convicted and sentenced to various terms of imprisonment by courts, during the period under review.
In addition, he said the agency had destroyed many cannabis sativa farms, rehabilitated three drug dependent persons and re-united them with their families, while six others were presently under rehabilitation.
The NDLEA commander called for the involvement of communities across the country in preventing the cultivation of illicit drugs, drug abuse and drug trafficking.
On 8 May, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) reported that on 6 May, it destroyed 7,970.8kg of drugs at its Ibereko Area Command Office in Badagry, Lagos State. A statement by NDLEA spokesman, Mr. Mitchel Ofoyeju, put the value of the destroyed drugs at 9.2bn naira (about 61.3 million USD).
Speaking at the destruction event, the NDLEA chairman, Mallam Ahmadu Giade, said most of the drugs were destined for America and Europe, but were seized in Lagos. He said that this was the third drug destruction event since the beginning of 2011.
Noting that drugs “aggravate crime and distort the economy through money laundering with adverse social consequences,” the NDLEA helmsman advocated stiffer penalties for drug traffickers. He said the “minimum sentence in terms of punishment for the offenders should be 15 years”. But he also added that if the law could be amended to make the penalty a life sentence, “maybe they (the traffickers) will desist from doing the business”.
On 6 March, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) reported it had a 40-year-old woman, suspected of drug trafficking. The woman, Mrs. Agbanyi Philomena, is accused of attempting to export 13kg of methamphetamine to Lubumbashi, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
NDLEA spokesman, Mr. Mitchell Ofoyeju, in a statement, said the suspect was arrested while attempting to export the drugs through Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos. According to Ofoyeju, the drug was found in a sack concealed inside a bag containing some shirts.
The suspect, Mrs. Nweze, who is married with five children and resides in Surulere, Lagos, said she thought the drug was fertiliser. She said: “I am a clearing and forwarding agent with over 18 years experience. I was told that it was fertiliser and that it is used to preserve fish. That was how I consented to send the bag”.
“I’m not good at export because I do mainly import. After collecting the bag, I searched it and saw the substance in a sack amidst some new shirts. I charged a normal fee as usual and I gave it to a fellow agent on the export desk. I told him that the bag contained fertiliser and some shirts”.
“This is my first occupational mishap in 18 years. When I got a call that the consignment had not arrived in Kenya, I thought the agent had not sent the bag. It was later I heard he was arrested by the NDLEA in the process of sending it. This is shocking to me because I felt it was a normal job”.
Ofoyeju quoted the NDLEA Airport Commander, Alhaji Hamza Umar, as saying that more people were connected with the foiled export. “We hope to make more arrests on the case”, Ofoyeju said, adding that the suspect would soon be charged to court.
On 4 March, operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) arrested a 32-year-old man, Zakariya’u Garba, found with two canisters suspected to be bombs in New Wuse village (Sabon Wuse), few kilometres away from Suleja, Niger State. The arrest came barely 24 hours after the bomb blast at a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) campaign rally in the town the previous day, which claimed over 14 lives.
Sources say Garba, a Kaduna-based trader, was arrested by the NDLEA officers for allegedly being in possession of two explosive devices and Tiger branded dry cell batteries. He was apprehended at a post mounted by officers of the NDLEA who were searching for hard drugs but then stumbled on the two metallic objects believed to be bombs.
Confirming the arrest, the Commander of the NDLEA, Alhaji Abdullahi Abdul, told journalists that his men at the old toll gate in New Wuse stopped a Kaduna-bound bus conveying 18 passengers and found the two canisters of explosives among the luggage of the suspect. The canisters were wrapped with a cream-coloured lace cloth and concealed in a black polythene bag. The NDLEA commander said the suspect was agitated when asked to reveal the contents of what he was carrying, which prompted his men to investigate further.
He said the suspect’s hand-held phone also contained messages that suggest security breaches, but that the contents of the messages would not yet be released, so as not to jeopardise investigations.
Garba, speaking in Hausa, denied any knowledge of the explosives, adding that he had nothing to do with them. But the driver of the bus, Malam Shafiu Sani, said that when he picked Garba from Madalla, a town in Suleja Local Government Area (along Kaduna-Abuja road), the suspect came onto the bus with the bag. Aside the driver of the vehicle, other passengers also testified that the suspect brought a bag with him onto the vehicle.
Investigation is continuing.
On 1 March, the Jigawa State Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) reported that it recently arrested 44 Indian hemp dealers and recovered 40.017kgs of various drugs. The Commander of the agency in the State, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdul, made the disclosure in his office while parading some arrested persons before journalists.
Alhaji Abdul said the dealers were arrested during raids at Dutse (the state capital), Hadejia, Ringim, Birnin Kudu, and other towns in the state. Hadejia, where 13 persons were arrested with 16.086kgs of the drugs, had the highest number of suspects.
The Commander stated that of the 44 suspects arrested, 60 per cent were youths while 40 per cent were elderly people. Forty out of the 44 suspects were men who are married with children. The remaining four were women, two of whom are HIV positive, probably a consequence of indulging in unprotected sex after abusing drugs.
Abdul said that those arrested during the raid were facing trial at the Federal High Court, Dutse. He also said the command had successfully prosecuted eight suspects, had 15 on trial, with another 21 undergoing counselling in the NDLEA cell in Dutse.
He warned the public to steer clear of the use of illicit substances, as the command would not hesitate to arrest those found with them.