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NDLEA busts 80 suspects, seizes 3,000kg of drugs in FCT

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested over 80 suspected drug dealers with over 3,000kg of drugs in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) between January and March.

Mr Kabir Tsukuwa, Commander of Narcotics (CN), NDLEA, FCT Command, said this in an interview with the press

Tsakuwa said that over 50 suspects had been prosecuted adding that out of the number, 12 had been convicted and sentenced to different jail terms.

He said that the command had been going after the drug peddlers and the records were there to show from the arrest and seizure over the years.

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”If not for the continuous effort of the agency and the command in particular, the drug situation in FCT and even the entire country would have been worst,” he said.

The NDLEA commander said that the current situation of drug abuse in the FCT was not a peculiar one as it was same world over.

Tsakuwa said that drug abuse was a major concern to all countries of the world.

He said that all regional and global bodies like ECOWAS, EU and UNODC were advocating for global concerted efforts to deal with the challenge of drug trafficking and abuse.

He said: “the drug situation varies from countries to countries, states to states and even localities.

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According to him, the command has maintained consistent raids of drug joints within the FCT, even though, that cannot be said to have been dismantled completely but it is a continuous process.

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“There is no society that is crime free, not even the developed world.

“In 2023 alone, we arrested over 500 suspects with over 7,000kg of assorted drug seizure and conviction of over 200 offenders.

Tsakuwa said that the issue of drug abuse was serious, adding that Nigerians must join in the continuous fight against the drug menace.

He emphasised that there was a strong nexus between drug abuse and other criminalities like kidnapping, insurgency, theft, armed robbery among others.

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“When drug abuse and trafficking is dealt with, the rise in other criminalities will certainly drop.

“Although, we have had cases where we carry out operations of drug joints, but the next minute, they are back again.

“Be that as it may, we shall continue to give in our best to ensure sustainable action in our efforts.

“We shall not rest until we achieve our desired goal of drug free environment in the Federal Capital, “he said.

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NDLEA declares India-based Nigerian couple wanted, arrests four cartel members

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has declared a couple, Kazeem Omogoriola Owoalade and Rashidat Ayinke Owoalade, wanted for running a cocaine cartel from India.

This follows the arrest of four members of the syndicate in Lagos, where a Sports Utility Vehicle was recovered and two houses traced to them were sealed for forfeiture to the Federal Government.

This was made known in a statement signed by the agency’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, and shared on its website on Sunday.

The statement read, “A couple, Kazeem Omogoriola Owoalade (alias Abdul Qassim Adisa Balogun) and Rashidat Ayinke Owoalade (alias Bolarinwa Rashidat Ayinke), who runs a cocaine cartel from India has been declared wanted by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency following the arrest of four members of the syndicate in Lagos where a Sports Utility Vehicle was recovered and two houses already traced to them sealed for forfeiture to the Federal Government.

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“Two members of the syndicate: Imran Taofeek Olalekan and Ishola Isiaka Olalekan were arrested on April 3, 2024 following their bid to export 3.40kg cocaine on a Qatar Airlines flight going to Oman through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA Ikeja Lagos.

“While Imran was the courier conveying the drug consignment to Oman, Ishola recruited him for the head of the cartel, which investigation has now revealed to be Alhaji Kazeem Omogoriola Owoalade whose Indian residence permit bears Abdul Qassim Adisa Balogun based in India.

“Efforts to dismantle his network in Nigeria paid off after five weeks of surveillance and follow up operations when another member of the syndicate, Hamed Abimbola Saheed, who works directly with the baron was arrested on Tuesday 14th May at Abule Egba area of Lagos. It was indeed Saheed who lodged Imran in a hotel a day before his aborted trip to Oman and equally dropped him and Ishola at the Lagos airport the day they were arrested.”

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During a search of Hamed’s house, NDLEA operatives were said to have recovered some phenacetine, a cutting agent for Cocaine, weighing 900 grams.

He was said to have confessed that the recovered substance was what was left of the consignment Imran was taking to Oman the day he was arrested.

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His arrest led to a follow up operation at the home of the Owoalade couple at 20, Eyiaro Street, Ogudu Orioke, Lagos where another suspect was arrested and a new model Toyota RAV4 SUV marked FKJ-773 JJ belonging to Rashidat and additional 400 grams of Cocaine recovered in addition to already prepared suitcases to be used for illicit drug concealment, digital weighing scales and other paraphernalia.

NDLEA officers also intercepted two parcels at a courier firm in Lagos on May 15.

The parcels contained cocaine (587g) hidden in steel bolts bound for China and amphetamine concealed in vape pens and shea butter heading to the UK.

The statement added that an attempt to export 3.6kg of cannabis (loud strain) hidden in 36 water flasks to Dubai was foiled at a logistics company in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on May 16.

The owner of the consignment, Emeka Nwadiaro (aka Mega), was arrested in Onitsha, Anambra State, on the same day following a swift follow-up operation.

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The statement added, “While NDLEA operatives in Lagos intercepted a Mercedes Benz bus loaded with 840kg cannabis and arrested the driver, Samuel Henry, at Olojo in Ojo LGA, Lagos, another suspect, Lawal Adam was nabbed along Otukpo road, Aliade, Benue state on Friday 17th May with 75,000 pills of opioids including tramadol and exol-5. Two suspects: Olisa Etisi, 32, and Jonathan Umeh, 25, were arrested along Owerri – Onitsha road, Imo state following the discovery by NDLEA operatives of a big gas cyclinder used to conceal six blocks of Loud, a strain of cannabis weighing 3.85kg.

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“In Borno State, 70-year-old Adamu Mohammed was arrested at Mbulamel, Biu LGA on Thursday, 16th May with 2kg cannabis and 33.55grams of diazepam, while Gaddafi Sani, 27, was arrested with 30 kilograms of cannabis along Abuja-Kaduna road, Kaduna.”

NDLEA officers in Yobe State seized a large consignment of drugs from a petrol tanker on the Potiskum-Damaturu Road.

The drugs, which included 91.1kg of opioids and 13kg of cannabis, were hidden in secret compartments and were heading for Maiduguri, Borno State.

The driver, Ismaila Ali, was arrested in connection with the discovery.

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NDLEA officers also arrested four suspects in connection with the seizure of 2,025 pieces of improvised explosive devices (IED) materials in Niger State.

Two suspects, Abdulrauf Shitu Adeyemi and Asmiyu Rahim, were arrested on the spot, while Husaini Abdullahi and Nazifi Abdullahi were arrested in Sokoto and Kano respectively, following a follow-up operation.

The suspects and the explosive materials have been transferred to the appropriate security agency for further investigation. In a separate operation, Muhammad Lawal was arrested in Katsina state with 1,000 ampoules of Pentazocine injection.

A total of 105kg cannabis was on Friday, May 17, recovered from a house at Obola community, Owan West LG, Edo State, and a suspect, Gloria Oris, arrested when NDLEA officers raided the area.

In Kwara State, two suspects: Abdulganiyu Karaman, 55, and Sunday Abel, 37, were on Saturday 18th May arrested with 83kg cannabis and tramadol at Boriya, Baruten LGA, and Offa respectively.

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NDLEA officers also recovered 105kg of cannabis from a house in the Obola community, Edo state, and arrested a suspect, Gloria Oris, on May 17th. Additionally, two suspects, Abdulganiyu Karaman and Sunday Abel, were arrested in Kwara State on May 18, with 83kg of cannabis and tramadol.

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Crime

NURTW member, two others jailed for drug trafficking

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A 45-year-old driver and member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Tapha Mustapha, and two others, were on Thursday convicted and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for trafficking hard drugs.

Other convicts sentenced alongside the NURTW member are Andrew Ukelere and Anthony Chiemerem.

The three convicts were earlier arraigned before the court by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, on April 27, 2024, on charges bordering on conspiracy, trafficking in 13.9 kilograms of tramadol and 590 litres of Pentazocine, a psychotropic drug similar to cocaine.

During their arraignment, the prosecutor, Mariam I. Erondu, who was represented by Julian Negedu, told the court that the convicts were arrested with the drugs on March 19, 2024, on the Long Bridge area of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Lagos State.

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According to the prosecutor, the offences committed contravened Sections 11(b) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N 30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, and are punishable under the same Act.

The trio, however, pleaded guilty to the charges.

Following their guilty plea, Justice Kehinde Ogundare, adjourned the matter to Thursday for a review of facts and sentence, and then ordered that they be remanded at the Ikoyi Correctional Centre.

At the resumed hearing of the matter for review of facts, the prosecutor called Mr Benjamin Naetah, a Senior Exhibits Keeper with the agency, who tendered the drugs and other exhibits, which were admitted by the court.

Upon the conclusion of the review of facts, the prosecutor urged the court to convict and sentence the trio in accordance with the sections of the NDLEA Act that they were charged with.

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But the convicts’ lawyers, Lilian Omotunde and Ore-Ofe Ogunleye, in their plea for mercy, urged the court to award a non-custodian sentence on their clients, being first-time convicts and for not wasting the time of the court.

Omotunde, who is the counsel for the first and second convicts, said: “The first convict is a first-time offender; he is a member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers. He was contracted by the roadside to deliver a good after Lagos State, but he was caught up by the law.

“The second convict is a 35-year-old medicine store attendant, who was sent on an errand by his master.

“I urge the court to award a non-custodian sentence,” she said.

Also, counsel for the third convict, Ogunleye, urged the court to award a non-custodian sentence to her client.

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She particularly cited Section 426(2) paragraphs a, b, d and e of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.

Responding to the counsel’s submissions, the prosecutor, Erondu, who also cited Section 311 of ACJA, urged the court to consider the commercial quantity of the prohibited drug seized from the convicts and the damage it would have done to the country.

In his judgment, Justice Ogundare sentenced the first and second convicts to two years imprisonment, while the third convict was sentenced to a year imprisonment.

The judge however ordered both the first and second convicts to pay the sum of N500,000 each, and the third convict to pay the sum of N100,000, in lieu of the jail term.

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Crime

NAFDAC arrests five for allegedly selling fake cosmetics in Abuja

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The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Wednesday in Abuja arrested five persons for selling counterfeit cosmetics.

Theheute reports that the arrest was made at the Garki and Wuse axis, during an enforcement to curb the sales of substandard goods.

Speaking with newsmen after the enforcement, Mr Embugushiki-Musa Godiya, NAFDAC Head of Investigation and Enforcement, Federal Taskforce, said that the arrested persons would be investigated.

Godiya said that NAFDAC would work to ensure that fake cosmetics and other counterfeit products were completely wiped out of the country.

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He said that the agency had been investigating some of these counterfeit cosmetics, following intelligence reports. He added that some of these products were illegally imported into the country, in spite of security at the border.

“NAFDAC is present in all the ports of entry of the country, but with the nature of our borders, these smugglers will always find a way to beat the system that the government has put in place.

“That is why if they escape from the port or borders, we go to the market and to all the places, gather intelligence reports, go after them and confiscate these products for possible prosecution,” Godiya said.

He said that the market value of the seized cosmetics was N35 million, adding that NAFDAC would continue investigation into the issue, to unravel the level of involvement of the suspects.

Godiya said that after investigation, the management of the agency may prosecute those suspects for the crime committed.

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He called on Nigerians to collaborate with NAFDAC to fight counterfeit products in the country.

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