Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency have taken into custody two wanted heads of transnational criminal organisations with a multi-billion-naira worth of illicit drugs.
The anti-narcotics agency also seized assets from the traffickers after weeks of intelligence-led operations within and outside the country.
This was made known on Sunday by the agency’s Director, Media & Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, at the headquarters in Abuja.
Babafemi stated that the duo, who concealed cocaine and heroin in their bellies, were arrested after its operatives intercepted consignments designated to Paris, France and Doha, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The statement read in parts, “Operatives at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja Lagos on Tuesday 10th October succeeded in taking into custody, Hakeem Babatunde Salami, the arrowhead of “Tajudeen Babatunde Abioye Transnational Criminal Organisation” involved in the illicit trade of several narcotics including cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and ephedrine between Nigeria, Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, Mozambique, and Europe.
“He fled Nigeria to South Africa upon the arrest of a member of his syndicate, Suleiman Babatunde Oba at the Lagos airport on August 25 over an attempt to export 25.10kgs of ephedrine to South Africa.
“Hakeem Babatunde Salami was however smoked out of hiding through partnership with South African authorities and other intelligence and investigative mechanisms. While some of his luxury vehicles have been seized and his home in Surulere, Lagos, sealed, other members of the cartel are already in custody including Suleiman and Godwin Edet Mathew.”
Babafemi stated further, “In his statement, he claimed he was into the importation of building materials from China to Nigeria and used to sell gold in South Africa before delving into the illicit drug trade about two years ago.
“The head of another cartel, Okafor Ikechukwu Williams (aka Jantu) and his wife, Okafor Ifeyinwa Grace were also taken into custody on Thursday 5th October when NDLEA operatives raided their hideout at 9 Awa Street, Ago Palace, Okota area of Lagos, where they recovered 27.566 kilogrammes of methamphetamine concealed in a blue box and two sacks, ready for export to Europe and Asia.
“Their Lexus RX350 marked ABJ 512 AY parked in the house was also seized during the operation. Their arrest followed weeks of intelligence gathering about the activities of the criminal network.”
According to the statement, “At the Abuja airport, operatives on Friday 6th October arrested a drug trafficker, Nwofor Ejiogu Charles, 45, during the outward clearance of Qatar Airways flight QR 1432 to Doha. After a body scan revealed he ingested cocaine, he was placed under observation during which he excreted 75 pellets of cocaine weighing 1.653 kgs. At the point of his arrest, Nwofor who was the last passenger to board his flight offered to compromise an NDLEA officer with $3,000 to free him.
“The following day, Saturday 7th October, another trafficker, Nwufo Charles Okwudili, 45, was also arrested while attempting to board Lufthansa Airlines flight LH 0595 to Paris, France via Frankfurt, Germany. After being put through a body scanner, he was taken into a recovery room where he excreted 96 wraps of heroin he ingested with a total weight of 1.413 kgs.
“Meanwhile, NDLEA operatives on patrol along Okene -Lokoja-Abuja expressway on Tuesday 10th October, intercepted a commercial bus coming from Lagos to Kano. A search of the bus led to the seizure of four million, eight hundred and eighty thousand US dollars ($4,880,000), and fifty-seven million Céfa, (CFA57,000,000) suspected to be counterfeits.
“In Sokoto, the Federal High Court in the state capital presided over by Justice Ahmad Mahmud has sentenced an acting district head, Alhaji Umar Mohammed (aka Dan Bala) to five and a half years in jail on four counts of possession and dealing in 436.38 kgs cannabis and 7 kgs psychotropic drugs brought against him by NDLEA in October 2022.
“He was convicted and sentenced to two years on each of counts 1 and 2 with an option of a N1 million fine, and eight months on each of counts 3 and 4 without an option of fine.”
Furthermore, “Operatives in Edo state on Wednesday 11th October stormed the Orue forest, Owan West LGA where they arrested Happy Akashili, 37, and Solomon Uwesue, 40, in a hut located inside a cannabis farm measuring 2.367308 hectares which was destroyed, with 92 kgs already processed skunk recovered, while 49 kgs of same substance were also seized at Ogbeturu camp.
“The Commands across the country balanced their drug supply reduction operations with the War Against Drug Abuse, WADA, advocacy campaigns to schools, markets, worship centres and communities.
“Some of these include WADA sensitisation lecture on Drug Use and Mental Health for students of 15 secondary schools in Ibadan metropolis at the University of Ibadan, Oyo state; WADA sensitisation lecture for students of Ascension College, Iworo Imeke, Badagry Lagos; WADA sensitisation lecture at Modern Comprehensive College, Amokwe, Udi LGA, Enugu; WADA sensitisation lecture for students of National Secondary school, Awka; Students of JIBWIS Islamic Science Secondary school, Herwagana, Gombe; students of Government College, Makurdi, Benue; students of Government secondary school (Boys), Kafin Maiyaki, Kano and students of JNI Special Model primary School, Gusau, Zamfara.
“While commending the efforts of the NAIA, MMIA, Kogi, Sokoto and Edo Commands of the Agency as well as the Special Operations Unit targeting the drug cartels, for jobs well done in the past week, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) assured that officers and men of the Agency will never let down their guards no matter the tricks and distractions orchestrated against it by criminal networks.”
Lagos Police Nab Suspected Cultist With Weapons, Charms
Officers of the Orile Division of the Lagos State Police Command have arrested a 27-year-old suspected cultist, Ahmed Ololade aka Small Mercy.
This was revealed in a post on the command’s official X handle on Sunday.
According to the post, Ololade was arrested in possession of one local pistol, live cartridges, and charms amongst others.
The caption read, “27-year-old suspected cultist, Ahmed Ololade aka Small Mercy, has been arrested by officers of Orile Division in possession of the following items: 1 locally made pistol, 2 single barrel shotguns, 6 live cartridges, 7 live 7.65mm ammunition, 1 live 9mm ammunition, two axes, and charms.”
It added that the investigation of the case was ongoing.
NDLEA Arrests Notorious Drug Kingpin In Abuja
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested a notorious drug dealer, Ibrahim Bendel, also known as Ibrahim Momoh.
The suspect is reportedly known as a major distributor of illegal substances in Abuja.
The suspect is said to have been on the run since he escaped from prison custody in 2016 following his conviction for drug dealing.
On November 20, 2022, NDLEA operatives raided Momoh’s hideout at Filin Dabo, Dei-Dei area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) based on credible intelligence. They discovered 81 jumbo bags of cannabis weighing 1,278kgs in a warehouse located within his poultry farm. Although Momoh was not present at the time, his warehouse manager, Richard Forson Gordon, a 55-year-old Ghanaian, was arrested, prosecuted, and sentenced to two years in jail. Momoh was subsequently declared a wanted fugitive.
The relentless pursuit of the drug lord finally paid off on November 5, 2023, when NDLEA operatives raided his hideout once again, this time at Filin Dabo, Dei-Dei area of Abuja. He was apprehended with 56.9kgs of cannabis sativa and 42.7 grams of Diazepam. In another operation on November 13, 2023, in the same area of the FCT, a suspect named Yusufa Ibrahim was arrested with 75.3kgs of cannabis.
The agency also on November 18th, 2023, carried out a significant operation in the forest of Efon Alaye in the Efon local government area of Ekiti state, resulting in the eradication of 52,500 kilograms of cannabis sativa that covered over 21 hectares of farmland. Additionally, 92 bags of the same substance weighing 1,380 kilograms were seized, and another 250 bags weighing 3,000 were destroyed after being found in various huts on the farm.
The Director of Media and Advocacy of the NDLEA, Mr. Femi Babafemi, reported that 15 suspects were apprehended during the operation. In Ondo state, five individuals, including a wanted drug kingpin named Christopher Onyebuchi, were arrested at New Bridge Compound, Idoani, on November 15th, and a total of 1,945 kilograms of cannabis was confiscated from them.
Onyebuchi had previously been arrested by the NDLEA on March 25th, 2022, with 89kgs of the same substance but absconded after being arraigned at the Federal High Court, Akure. In addition, operatives in the state raided Upemen village in Owo on November 12th, where they recovered 1,834kgs of the same substance, with 273kgs also seized the previous day, Saturday, November 11th, at Ipesi Akoko.
I’m Innocent, She Only Died In Her Sleep, UNIPORT Student Denies Killing Girlfriend For Ritual
…Insists He Saw Her Dismembered Body In His House
A 24-year-old student of the University of Port Harcourt, UNIPORT, Damian Okoligwe, who allegedly killed his 20-year-old girlfriend, Justina Otuene, has denied having a hand in the deceased’s death.
Okoligwe denied the allegation during an interview with journalists at the Command Headquarters of the Rivers State Police Command, Moscow Road, Port Harcourt.
The suspect who said he was sick when the deceased visited his home, claimed he noticed his girlfriend was lifeless when he woke up.
He further claimed that he went to his brother’s house for treatment and returned three days later to dispose of her body.
The 400-level Petrochemical Engineering student denied harvesting any organ from Justina’s body, claiming that her remains were still intact.
Okoligwe said, “I was very sick that morning, and when I went to the room to check on her, she was still sleeping.
“I went back to the parlor, I laid down because I was very sick. I was calling her but she was not responding. I had to go back to check on her.
“I went to check on her, she was not moving at all. She was very stiff and strong. After that, I did not know what to do, I had to carry her body into another room, and then I called my brother to come to my place.
“He came, and then he took me out of the place. He did not know there was anybody in my house. He took me to his place. That was where I received my treatment.
“I was thinking if I report the issue, I will be blamed for everything. So, I was trying to wrap her body and get rid of it, which was very wrong of me to do.
“As I came back that Wednesday to come and wrap her body, that was the Wednesday the police came.
“I did not remove any of her body parts.”
He noted that their relationship was not stable.
The suspect added that the deceased took a Bolt ride to his house on her own, noting that she was supposed to leave the same night but he slept off.
On his part, John Otuene, the elder brother to the slain 20-year-old girl, said his family wants justice to prevail on the matter.
“On Wednesday, we got a call that a case of a dead person had been reported to the Ozuoba Police Station and that we should go to the Police Station.
“So, I reported to the IPO at Mini-Okoro Police station. We reported to the commander. The commander gave the IPO a go-ahead.
“All of us went to the Ozuoba Police Station and they met the officer there who confirmed that the missing person in the picture is the person that was killed.
“I need justice. The guy that did it should pay for it, and everybody that was involved, because definitely, he was not the only one that was involved. Justice is what we need,” he said.
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