…Presumed biggest in agency’s history
In what appears to be the biggest singular drugs seizure in the history of Nigeria’s premier anti-narcotic agency, operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA), have busted a major warehouse in a secluded estate in Ikorodu area of Lagos State.
This was made known in an issued statement by the agency’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, yesterday.
According to Babafemi, 1.8 tons (1,855 kilogrammes) of the illicit drug worth more than $278,250,000, which is about N194.775 billion in street value, were seized.
He said four suspected drug barons, including a Jamaican and the Warehouse Manager, have been arrested in the well-coordinated and intelligence-led operation that lasted two days across different locations in Lagos State.
The kingpins of the cocaine cartel in custody include Messrs Soji Jibril, 69, an indigene of Ibadan, Oyo State; Emmanuel Chukwu, 65, who hails from Ekwulobia, Anambra State; Wasiu Akinade, 53, from Ibadan, Oyo state; Sunday Oguntelure, 53, from Okitipupa, Ondo State and Kelvin Smith, 42, a native of Kingston, Jamaica.
They are all members of an international drug syndicate the Agency had been trailing since 2018, Babafemi said, in the statement.
Giving further details on the incident, the NDLEA Director of Media said that the warehouse, located at 6, Olukuola Crescent, Solebo Estate, Ikorodu, was raided on September 18, 2022, while the barons were picked from hotels and their hideouts in different parts of Lagos between Sunday night and yesterday morning.
Babafemi said preliminary investigation revealed the class-A drugs were warehoused in the residential estate from where the cartel was trying to sell them to buyers in Europe, Asia and other parts of the world. “They were stored in 10 travel bags and 13 drums”, he added.
While commending all the officers and men of the Agency involved in the extensive investigation, including those of the United States of America Drug Enforcement Administration, the Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Brig-Gen. Moh’d Buba Marwa (rtd), said the bust is a historical blow to the drug cartels, and a strong warning that they will all go down if they fail to realise that the game has changed.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday congratulated Marwa on the recent successful operation by the agency.