By Ibironke Ariyo
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has intercepted various quantities of ephedrine, skunk and nitrous oxide, popularly known as laughing gas concealed in semovita packs and dry pepper.
NDLEA’s Director, Media and Advocacy, Mr Femi Babafemi, stated on Sunday in Abuja that the drugs were to be shipped to South Africa and Kenya through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, (MMIA), Ikeja Lagos.
Babafemi said that the drugs were trafficked by members of Transnational Drug Trafficking Organisations (DTO) adding that some of who were promptly arrested, their mansions raided and their luxury vehicles seized.
He said that through credible intelligence, NDLEA operatives on Friday Aug. 25 intercepted one of the notorious drug traffickers, Babatunde Oba.
He said that the suspect was a member of the cartel distributing Cocaine, Heroin, Methamphetamine and Ephedrine between Nigeria, Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, Mozambique, and Europe.
Babafemi added that the suspect was arrested while attempting to board a Rwanda Air flight to South Africa with two boxes loaded with ephedrine sealed in semovita packs.
He also added that the recovered substance was a precursor chemical and active ingredient in the production of methamphetamine.
“In his statement, Oba who holds a South African passport, married to a South African lady and has lived there for over 20 years, identified one Hakeem Salami who equally lives in Lagos and South Africa as the head of the drug ring,” he said.
According to him, a follow up raid in the house of Salami located at 75 Wosilatu Dawodu Street, Ijesha, Aguda area of Surulere, Lagos on Monday Aug. 28 revealed that he had fled the country on the same day Oba was arrested.
“However, a white Toyota Venza car with registration number LSR 410 HT, a Mercedes Benz SUV marked LSD 998HP, phones and vital documents needed for further investigation were recovered from the house.
“In August 2021, the agency had seized 25.60kg ephedrine from a trafficker, Emmanuel Onwuka at the Lagos airport, a seizure that has also been traced to the same cartel whose identified members are currently on the run.
“An official of the airport, Godwin Shedrack also known as fingered as a member of the syndicate is also under investigation, ” he said.
In the same vein, attempt by another syndicate to export 10.40kg skunk concealed with scent leaf and pepper, going to Nairobi, Kenya, was equally thwarted.
This, he said was done by NDLEA operatives attached to the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO) export shed of the Lagos airport on Saturday Aug. 26.
Babafemi said that a suspect, Ekechukwu Ndubuisi, had already been arrested in connection with the seizure.
According to him, NDLEA operatives also arrested a freight agent, Akeem Oyekola for attempting to export a consignment of 180 cannisters of laughing gas to South Africa.
Babafemi said that the drugs were to be trafficked with a fee of N2, 000, 000 to be paid to the suspect.
He added that the NDLEA operatives frustrated the attempt and seized the cargo after arresting the suspect. (NAN)