By Sumaila Ogbaje
Troops of 192 Battalion, 81 Division, Nigerian Army on Sunday, intercepted a suspected transnational drug syndicate with illicit substances suspected to be Cannabis Sativa.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Maj.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, made this known in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.
Nwachukwu said the suspects were intercepted along Balogun border in Ogun acting on credible intelligence that a Sienna 2001 Model Space Bus, with registration number Lagos APP 129 EF was loaded with the illicit substances.
He said the vigilant troops conducted a thorough search on the vehicle and detected layers of compartments packed with 296 wraps of substance suspected to be marijuana.
According to him, preliminary investigation revealed that the wraps of illicit substance were transported from Benin Republic, through Ilara border communities en route Ifo, Ogun.
“It was further revealed that it took the transnational drug traffickers five months to conceal the substance for delivery to their clients.
“Two suspects were arrested in connection to the crime.
“The suspects, identified as one Mr Adigun Olatunji, age 54 years and Mr Michael Atanda aged 18 yrs, both from Ilara Imeko in Afun Local Government Area of Ogun, reside in Benin Republic.
“They have been taken into custody for further necessary actions, after a failed attempt to bribe troops with the sum of N12 million.
“Other items recovered from the suspects include one Benin Republic National ID Card, one Nigerian National ID Card and two small Itel mobile phones.
“Others include one Benin Republic driver’s license, a Benin Republic International Passport, six Benin Republic SIM packs, 2 Benin Republic SIM cards, one Nigerian driver’s license, one power bank and one MP3 player.
“Additionally, a memory card, local charms, as well as the sum of N52,700 were recovered from the suspects,” he said.
Nwachukwu said the suspects and all the items recovered were in safe custody, pending handover to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency for prosecution.
He said troops of the Battalion had in recent times made huge operational breakthroughs that led to the confiscation of large cache of ammunition and illicit substances across the Nigerian and Benin Republic border on Nov. 12, 2023.
“The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja commends the troops for their vigilance and commitment.
“He further charged them to sustain the tempo in the interest of national security for the common good of all Nigerians,” he added. (NAN)