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NDLEA arrests 7 smugglers, seizes cocaine hidden in footwears, toothpaste tubes

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), has intercepted large consignments of Cocaine smuggled into the country through three major international airports in Port Harcourt, Abuja and Lagos.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Director, Media & Advocacy, NDLEA Headquarters, Abuja, Femi Babafemi on Sunday.

According to the statement, seven traffickers were also arrested in connection to the smuggling by Brazil-based drug cartels.

The Cocaine was hidden and smuggled using unconventional methods like inside toothpaste tubes and footwear.

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At the Port Harcourt International Airport, five suspects were arrested on Saturday, April 9.

“Three of them were arrested during the inward screening of passengers on board Qatar Airline flight QR1433 from Doha to Port Harcourt. The three suspects departed Sao Paulo, Brazil on board same Qatar flight, en-route Doha to Abuja and Port Harcourt with a total of 24.96 kilograms of cocaine,” the statement read.

“The first is 51-year-old Udogwu James Johnson who hails from Orlu LGA, Imo state. He was arrested with 5.48kg of cocaine concealed in lotion plastic bottles sealed with candle wax. He claimed he agreed to traffic the drug for a fee of N1million.

“Also arrested is Ezekwueme Ifeanyi Valentine, (32), from Aguata LGA, Anambra State, who was caught with 10.82kg cocaine packed in 84 sachets concealed in seven duvets, while the third trafficker, Chiezie Ikechukwu Arinze (35), from Dunukofia LGA, Anambra State, was arrested with 8.66kg cocaine hidden in 115 golden and silver colour 30ml breakable bottles factory packaged with lotion on top.

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“The fourth suspect, Uchechukwu Onwugbufor (42), from Idemili North LGA, Anambra State, was arrested at the airport car park while waiting to receive one of the traffickers, Udogwu James and his consignment. He claimed he was contacted by someone in Brazil to receive Udogwu and lead him to Lagos for a fee of N100,000. Uchechukwu Onwugbufor was at the Airport with his neighbour, Nwogu Ezimadu, who is equally being investigated to determine if he’s complicit in the crime or not”.

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At the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, NAIA, Abuja, a Psychology graduate of Imo State University, Owerri, Sebastine Emeka Kelvin, (30-years-old), was arrested with 74 pellets of cocaine weighing 1.454kg on arrival aboard Ethiopian Airline flight enroute Doula- Addis Ababa-Abuja on Wednesday, April 13.

“The father of one who claimed he’s a motor spare parts dealer is from Ezeagu in Ezeagu LGA, Enugu state. He said he’s lived in Cameroon for six years before going into the drug business to raise money to boost his trade. He added that he was introduced to the man who gave him the drugs at Addis Ababa by another person serving jail term for drug offence at the Doula Newbell Prison,” the statement said.

In Lagos, another Brazil-based passenger, Uba Samuel was arrested at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, by NDLEA operatives on Friday, April 15, on arrival aboard Ethiopian Airline flight from Sao Paulo via Addis Ababa to Lagos with sachets of cocaine weighing 633grams concealed in his footwear and toothpaste tube.

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While accepting ownership of the drug, the suspect who claimed to be a cobbler from Abia State, said he used his shoe-making knowledge to conceal the drug in his pair of sandals.

Uba who is a regular traveller confessed he bought the drug to sell at a market in Abia.

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Meanwhile, more illicit substances were recovered in raid operations in other parts of the country. In Gadaka village of Fika LGA, Yobe state, operatives arrested one Hassan Usman with a total of 22, 110 tablets of Tramadol, D5 and Exol 5, while one Ali Mohammed was nabbed in a commercial vehicle coming from Kano to Maiduguri with 40 blocks of cannabis weighing 33kg. Also arrested on the Kano-Maiduguri route was a driver Ibrahim Khalil Idris with 60 packets of Tramadol, all on Tuesday 12th April.

In Kogi state, 750 blocks of Cannabis weighing 750kg were seized from two suspects: Hassan Adamu, 25, and Abdulmalik Abdullahi, 24, along Okene-Abuja highway. The drug exhibits were concealed inside fabricated panels of a Ford bus.

Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) has commended the officers and men of the PHIA, NAIA, MMIA, Yobe, and Kogi Commands of the Agency for disrupting desperate attempts by drug cartels to traffic dangerous drugs into Nigeria and across the country.

He said the huge seizures at the airports will send a strong message to drug barons that Nigeria will no longer be their safe destination or transit route.

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Crime

Two jailed for stealing Dangote company’s armoured cables

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The Magistrate Court sitting in Ilaro, Ogun State, on Tuesday, sentenced Hussain Waziri aged 36 and Mustapha Aliyu, aged 33 years old, to one-year imprisonment for the two counts of conspiracy to steal and stealing made against them after pleading guilty to the offences.

Theheute learnt that Waziri and Aliyu were arrested last week Thursday by the operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Ogun State Command, while stealing the armoured cables worth millions of naira within the Dangote Cement factory, Ibese, Yewa South Local Government Area of the state.

This was according to a statement from the Ogun State Commander of NSCDC, David Ojelabi, on Wednesday.

It was stated that an exhibit recovered from them was a special armoured cable, property of Dangote Plc, which is being used in transmitting and distributing power within the factory.

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The statement partly reads, “The arrested gangs who are serial cable thieves allegedly conspired, jumped over the perimeter fence and accessed the (DCP-I) cable yard within the power plant, with the intent to commit a crime.

“At approximately 0336 hours, during the routine patrol at the power plant duty post, the NSCDC armed personnel sighted Mustapha Aliyu and Hussein Waziri while committing the heinous crime.

“The suspects violently engaged the security personnel with dangerous tools in order to escape arrest. Mustapha Aliyu was overpowered and eventually arrested while Hussein Waziri escaped with the stolen cable.

“Unfortunately for him, the NSCDC personnel conducted an intelligence-based ‘search and arrest’ operation and at about 0436 hours of the same night, Waziri, who had earlier escaped from the scene where he carted away the special armoured electrical cable, was rearrested, within the geofencing of the Dangote Cement Transport [DCT-I ] by the alerted NSCDC personnel assisted by the Dangote security guards.”

The convicts were said to have been transferred to the NSCDC state headquarters for a thorough investigation and prosecution. It was during the investigation that they confessed to committing the crime.

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Having pleaded guilty to the counts, the court sentenced them to a one-year jail term for each of the two counts of conspiracy to steal and stealing. The term is however to run concurrently on each of the two counts.

Reacting to the arrest and the conviction secured at the court, the Ogun State Commandant of the NSCDC, Ojelabi, reiterated the commitment of the security agency to the protection of critical infrastructure and ensuring that crime is stamped out of Ogun State and Nigeria at large.

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Crime

Hoodlums kill Niger health worker during wedding ceremony

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A health worker, Umar Mohammed, was stabbed in the head at a wedding ceremony by hoodlums in Niger State

Niger State security agents have been battling hoodlums and other miscreants who have been running riot in the State, especially its capital, Minna, killing and maiming unsuspecting residents.

The incident occurred last Friday in the Gbegenu Area of Minna when Mohammed was said to be returning from his workplace and decided to attend the wedding ceremony.

According to an eyewitness and resident of Gbegenu who gave his name as Haruna Aminu, Mohammed had not stayed at the wedding for more than a few minutes when the hoodlums came for him with dangerous weapons.

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“I saw when Umar came there. He was returning from the private clinic where he worked. I cannot say whether he wanted to stay or continue his movement.

“It didn’t take long after he was there that these hoodlums, numbering over ten began shouting at top of their voices. They were welding dangerous weapons. Many people gave way for them while others were injured.

“Umar was attempting to leave the scene of the wedding when the hoodlum came after him and one of them stabbed him in the head with his dagger. He immediately fell to the ground with blood coming out from his head,” Aminu said.

Muhammed was said to have been rushed to the Minna General Hospital where he was confirmed dead by the doctors.

When Press contacted the Niger State Police Command spokesman, Wasiu Abiodun, he confirmed the incident and said two suspects were arrested in connection with Mohammed’s killing while others were still on the run.

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Abiodun sent a WhatsApp message where he confirmed the incident, “On 17/5/2024 at about 2200hrs, it was reported at Kpakungu Div that there was a wedding ceremony at Gbeganu area, while some miscreants from the Area reportedly led by one Ukasha and others armed with dangerous weapons attacked a victim named Umar Mohammed 35yrs.

“The victim was inflicted with serious injury on the head, and he was rushed to Gen Hospital Minna, where he later gave up the ghost and was confirmed dead by the Doctor.

“The police patrol teams were drafted to the scene and two suspects were arrested while others fled from the scene, however, effort is ongoing to apprehend the fleeing suspects as the incident is under investigation,” Abiodun stated.

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ICYMI: Oba of Benin accuses EFCC of corruption

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Oba of Benin, Ewuare II has alleged that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is aiding crimes in the country.

The monarch made the allegations when he received the new Benin Zonal Director of EFCC, Effa Okim in his Palace in Benin on Monday.

He cited a case involving unnamed former palace officials who were left off the hook after they were arrested for fraud and handed over to EFCC in Benin for investigation and prosecution.

The Oba alleged that some EFCC operatives allegedly handled the case with kid gloves, which led to the release of the culprits a few years ago.

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The monarch, who did not name the palace officials, expressed shock that the EFCC investigators allegedly swept glaring evidence of fraud against them (the palace officials) under the carpet.

While tasking the commission to fight crime without fear or favour, the Oba added,” We want to draw your attention to one or two grey areas in your operations”.

“No matter how much you try to support the EFFC from the palace, It is very difficult because they seem to listen to other parties. What I have been told is that they take instructions from the highest bidder.

“You know that I have been known for speaking the truth. I was not happy about certain things that happened with your predecessor.

“We get news from everywhere. We try to assist the EFCC. I even wrote a letter to the then-chairman who was removed from office.

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“I even sent an emissary to talk to him regarding certain elements in Edo State, particularly the palace.

“How can EFCC operatives, especially, the lady who handled the case I cited earlier behave like that? If I was asked to comment on her performance, I would score her zero. I do not know if she was doing an EFCC job or just dancing to the tunes of people who were giving her money.

“At the time we were trying to assist EFCC, the report we kept getting was negative and I was not happy about it,” Oba Ewuare II added.

The monarch, however, said the newly appointed Chairman of EFCC, Olanipekun Olukayode is on the path to greatness if he continues to demonstrate fidelity in his duties.

He also pledged the palace’s support to the state government in addressing social inequality and reducing social vices.

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Earlier in his address, Okim appealed to the Oba to support advocacy against financial crimes with Edo State ranking second behind Lagos State in the financial crime index in the country.

Recalling the historical ties between his state of origin, Cross River and Edo State, he solicited prayers and royal blessings to enable him to discharge his duties diligently.

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