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NDLEA Smashes Syndicate of Blind Drug Traffickers, Seizes N13bn worth of Drugs in Lagos

Muktar Abubakar, 59, who is equally blind has, been living in Lagos for 40 years and married to three wives with 14 children.

The National Drug Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has smashed a syndicate of drug traffickers and peddlers run by blind men.

According to a statement on Sunday by the spokesman of the anti-narcotics agency, Femi Babafemi, the blind run the illicit business of drug trafficking between the two most populated states of Kano and Lagos.

He said arrested by NDLEA operatives are three blind men operating an illicit drug ring between Lagos and Kano, while another blind member of the syndicate is still at large.

Babafemi said the lid was blown off the group following the arrest of a blind suspect, Adamu Hassan, 40, along Gwagwalada expressway Abuja with 12 kilogrammes of skunk on his way from Lagos to Kano on Saturday 28th October. Investigations however established that he was totally oblivious of the content of the bag handed to him to deliver in Kano.

Follow up operations then led to the arrest of the arrowhead of the syndicate, Bello Abubakar, 45, who is also blind. In his statement, Bello who is married with five children said he has been living in Lagos for 30 years but started the illicit drug business five years ago.

Another suspect, Muktar Abubakar, 59, who is equally blind has been living in Lagos for 40 years and married to three wives with 14 children. Both Muktar Abubakar and Bello Abubakar are joint owners of the business, while the third suspect, Akilu Amadu, 25, also blind equally contributed money to the criminal trade and was indeed the one who delivered the consignment to Adamu at the motor park in Lagos to deliver in Kano.

Another blind suspect who is the expected receiver of the consignment in Kano, Mallam Aminu is currently at large.

Operatives of the anti-narcotics have also seized no less than  14,481, 519 pills of tramadol and bottles of codeine syrup worth over N13 billion in street in three major busts of drug cartels operating in parts of Lagos.

Babafemi said the drugs were specifically seized during operations at Amuwo Odofin, Idumota and the SAHCO shed of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

He said the three intelligence-led operations began with the raid of House 8/10 Hon. Wahuha Avenue, Divine Estate, Ago Palace area of Amuwo Odofin on Sunday 29th October, where 490,000 pills of tramadol and 81,519 bottles of codeine syrup measuring 4,510,000 millilitres (mls) were recovered.

He added that in a similar operation last Tuesday, NDLEA operatives swooped on a secret warehouse operated by a billionaire Idumota trader, Nwaoha Anayo located at Onitire, Aguda area of Surulere where 12.7 million pills of tramadol were recovered.

Babafemi also said at least six members of a syndicate using their official cover to facilitate the smuggling of illicit drugs through the Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) warehouse at the Lagos airport into the country have been arrested and 1.21 million pills of tramadol were seized from them in a painstaking operation that lasted for weeks.

He revealed that the six suspects already in NDLEA custody include: Oladele Sanya-Olu; Lawal Temitope; Sanamo Daniel; Udeh Felix; Musa Mutalib and Unege Icibor, while three other suspects: Sarki Salami; Abdullahi Aliyu (aka Aboki); and Monday Anwal, are now on the run and wanted by NDLEA.

Babafemi also disclosed that at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, NDLEA operatives on Sunday 29th October intercepted yet another businessman, 50-year-old Nwokolo Ifeanyi
during the outward clearance of Air France flight AF 878 to Amsterdam, Netherlands via Paris, France at the boarding gate and was body scanned, with result turning out to be positive for illicit drug ingestion.

He said the suspect who travelled from Lagos to board the flight was subsequently kept under observation for some days during which he excreted a total of 86 pellets of heroin weighing 1.330 kilogrammes.

Similarly, NDLEA operatives of the Directorate of Operations and General Investigation, DOGI, attached to courier firms last Monday intercepted 22 parcels of cocaine concealed in the walls of a carton containing sewn local fabrics popularly called Aso Oke, heading to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Babafemi said while operatives in Osun state on Saturday stormed the Obada sawmill forest in Owena-Ijesa, Oriade local government area where they arrested a suspect, Monday Sylvester, 37, on a 6.01 hectares of cannabis farm which was destroyed and 489.8 kilogrammes already processed plant recovered, their colleagues in Edo raided a trans-loading point inside Avbiosi forest, Owan West local government area where 603 kilogrammes of the illicit substance were seized.

Also, NDLEA officers in Ogun state last Friday recovered a Toyota Sienna bus from a ditch, at Ajebo Area, along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. A search of the vehicle led to the seizure of 460 kilogrammes of the same substance, while a total of 116.5 kilogrammes of cannabis sativa belonging to a suspect at large were seized at Olagunju street, Mushin area of Lagos.

He noted that the Commands and formations of the agency continued their war against drug abuse, WADA, advocacy lectures across the country. Some of the sensitization lectures in the past week were organized by: Zone N command of NDLEA in collaboration with the Akwa Ibom state command for principals of secondary schools in the state;
Kano state command at Government Science and Technical College, Wudil;  Gombe state command for  students of Haruna Rasheed College of Health Sciences, Dukku; Anambra state command for students of Community Secondary School, Ezi-Awka;  Zone I command in collaboration with Osun command of the Agency and the State Ministry of Education for over 320 secondary school principals in the state; Oyo State command at Anglican Grammar School, Starlight, Ogbomoso with 2,032 students in attendance and Ogun state command for students and staff of Gateway Junior Secondary School, Abeokuta.

Meanwhile, while commending the officers and men of the NAIA, MMIA, Lagos, Osun, Edo and FCT Commands as well as those of DOGI for the arrests and seizures of the past week, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd) charged them and their compatriots across the country to remain focused as the agency expands its operations against drug cartels.

Michael Olugbode in Abuja

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