Ola ‘Kiya, Reporting
OPERATIVES of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Nigeria have seized a total of 8,852 kilogrammes (8.8 tons) of Canadian Loud, an imported synthetic strain of cannabis, at the Eleko beach road in Lekki area of Lagos.
This success came after a 30-minute shootout with armed men who were escorting the consignment loaded in two long trucks to its destination.
This was disclosed by Femi Babafemi, Director, Media & Advocacy, NDLEA Headquarters, Abuja, on Sunday.
He said while acting on credible intelligence, NDLEA operatives had laid ambush for the traffickers along the Eleko beach road in Lekki and at about 4:51a.m on Thursday 4th May, two long trucks conveying the illicit consignments were flagged down but rather than stopping, the trucks escorted by armed men sped off, as a result of which there was an exchange of gunfire that lasted 30 minutes.
After they were overpowered by the NDLEA operatives, the truck drivers and their armed escorts escaped into the bush, abandoning the trucks and the drug consignments.
While one of the trucks painted red has 149 jumbo bags weighing 6,548kg, the second one with blue colour has 53 big bags with a weight of 2,304kg, bringing the total number of bags to 202 and gross weight of both to 8,852 kilograms.
Meanwhile, operatives are already on the trail of the drug lord who shipped the illicit consignment into the country.
On the same day, NDLEA operatives also intercepted a Toyota Sienna vehicle driven by one Mukaila Idowu, conveying 88.3kg skunk at Otedola bridge, Ikeja area of Lagos, while another suspect, Joseph Friday was arrested on Saturday 6th May at Iyana Ira, Lagos with 58.7kg cannabis sativa concealed inside his Toyota Camry car marked FST 587FH.
In Ogun State, operatives in the early hours of Wednesday 3rd May busted a mini factory where a suspect, Bakare Taofeek was producing skucchies around Safari Onikolobo, Abeokuta.
Exhibits recovered from him included: 4kg black currant drink (Sobo) mixed with cannabis; 255 litres of skucchies; 1,880 tablets of tramadol; 735 grams of cannabis; three deep freezers; 2 gas cylinders and two cooking pots among others.
In the same vein, operatives in Adamawa arrested a suspect, Sahabi Mohammed, 39, with 8,800 tablets of tramadol and counterfeit N60,000-naira notes, while another suspect, Bala Ali Umar, was arrested on Wednesday 3rd May with 2.850kg cannabis sativa and 825 litres of formalin popularly known as ‘Suck and Die’ at Anguwar Laka, Numan LGA.
In Edo State, a Toyota Previa bus marked NER 460 XA (Bayelsa) conveying 13,000 pills of tramadol and diazepam was intercepted along Ewohimi road, heading to Ekiti state, while the driver of the vehicle, Femi Oluwadare, was taken into custody on Friday 5th May.
Similarly, another suspect, Ahmed Rafi’u, 34, was arrested with 84 blocks of compressed cannabis weighing 43.200kg, by operatives in Kogi state, while 381.1kg of the same substance was recovered from three suspects travelling in a Sienna bus in Anambra state.
They include: Innocent Saturday; Sunday Asuquo and Akpan Asukuma who were arrested by a combined patrol team of security agents comprising NDLEA operatives and other security agencies at Nneobi, Anambra state.
Meanwhile, NDLEA officers of the Directorate of Operations and General Investigation, DOGI, attached to courier firms have intercepted blocks of compressed brown methamphetamine packaged as soap bars weighing 1.54 kilograms going to Australia.
The seizure at a courier house in Lagos on Tuesday 2nd May was a follow up operation to an earlier interception of 3.389kg of the same substance on 23rd February 2023. A suspected drug courier, Paul Adetigbe who delivered the previous parcel was eventually arrested with the latest consignment.
While commending the officers and men of Lagos, Ogun, Adamawa, Edo, Kogi and Anambra Commands of the Agency as well as those of DOGI for their vigilance and professionalism, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) urged them and their peers across the country to step up in their drug supply reduction and drug demand reduction efforts.