Sunday, July 25, 2021

How NDLEA operatives intercepted N8bn cocaine, rejected $24,500 bribe from suspect at Lagos airport

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Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or www.facebook.com/ibrahim.ramalana, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, says it has intercepted 36 blocks of cocaine, weighing 27.95 kilogrammes with a street value of over N8 billion at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos.

Its Director, Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen on Sunday in Abuja.

Mr Babafemi said a Brazil-based drug kingpin, Ejiofor Felix Enwereaku, who led a syndicate was arrested at the airport on Friday 14th May.

He said the suspect was arrested for importing 27.95kg of cocaine using an organised criminal gang, which specialised in tagging and planting drugs in innocent travellers’ luggage.

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Mr Babafemi added that based on intelligence, narcotic agents at the MMIA had on Saturday 8th May intercepted a bag that arrived at the Lagos airport from GRU, Brazil via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

He said the baggage with tag No. – ET331199 arrived through an Ethiopian airline flight but was disclaimed by an arriving passenger on the flight.

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He said the disclaimed bag was promptly secured by NDLEA operatives for investigation.

According to him, on Sunday, 9th May, a man came to the airport to make an inquiry on how to get the disclaimed bag released. He was promptly arrested for investigation.

“The disclaimed bag was opened in the presence of the arriving passenger and the man who came to negotiate the release of the disputed bag.

“When it was opened, it was found that the bag contained 36 blocks of cocaine, weighing 27.95kg.

“A follow up sting operation was carried out, which led to the arrest of Ejiofor Felix Enwereaku, the prime suspect, on Friday 14th May, upon his arrival from Addis Ababa onboard Ethiopian airline,” said Mr Babafemi.

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He added that during preliminary interrogation after his arrest, he confessed to having been contracted by his Ethiopian associate, a notorious drug baron to claim and push out the consignment in Lagos.

“He further admitted to have paid the 24,500 dollars bribe in three tranches to compromise NDLEA officers.

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“The first was 10,000 dollars delivered through his representative in Lagos and another 10, 000 dollars via his First Bank account while the third tranche of 4,500 dollars was paid at the point of his arrest.

“His group is suspected to be responsible for recruiting traffickers to move illicit drugs to various destinations using Nigeria as their transit location and also planting drugs in the luggage of innocent travellers,” he said.

The Chairman, NDLEA, Buba Marwa, was impressed by the outcome of the intelligence-led operational strategies that took weeks of painstaking efforts and closely monitored by him.

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Mr Marwa commended the Commander, MMIA Command of the agency, Ahmadu Garba, his officers and men for their diligence and resilience in following up every lead in the case until the kingpin was successfully entrapped and arrested.

“I have warned that we will henceforth, not only go after the traffickers but with the same vigour target the cartels and the kingpins that operate the.

“The latest arrest is a clear confirmation that we will match our words with action and that we will come for those who will not back out of the criminal trade.

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“And wherever they are hiding, pushing instruments of death through our borders to destroy the lives of our youths, we will bring them out,” he said.

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