By Milcah Tanimu
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has successfully intercepted various quantities of drugs, including ephedrine, skunk, and nitrous oxide (commonly known as laughing gas). These drugs were concealed in semovita packs and dry pepper and were destined for South Africa and Kenya via the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.
Mr. Femi Babafemi, the Director of Media and Advocacy for NDLEA, announced this development on Sunday in Abuja. He revealed that the drugs were being trafficked by members of Transnational Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs), some of whom were apprehended, and their properties and luxury vehicles were seized.
Babafemi explained that NDLEA operatives, acting on credible intelligence, intercepted Babatunde Oba, a notorious drug trafficker involved in distributing cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and ephedrine between Nigeria, Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, Mozambique, and Europe. Oba was attempting to board a Rwanda Air flight to South Africa with two boxes containing ephedrine concealed in semovita packs when he was arrested. Ephedrine is a precursor chemical and an active ingredient in the production of methamphetamine.
During the investigation, Oba identified Hakeem Salami as the head of the drug ring, with residences in Lagos and South Africa. However, when NDLEA raided Salami’s house in Lagos on August 28, he had already fled the country. Nevertheless, investigators recovered a white Toyota Venza car, a Mercedes Benz SUV, phones, and crucial documents for further examination from his residence.
In addition to this, NDLEA operatives thwarted an attempt by another syndicate to export 10.40kg of skunk, concealed with scent leaf and pepper, to Nairobi, Kenya, at the Lagos airport. A suspect named Ekechukwu Ndubuisi was arrested in connection with this seizure.
Furthermore, NDLEA operatives arrested a freight agent named Akeem Oyekola for attempting to export 180 canisters of laughing gas to South Africa. The syndicate intended to traffic the drugs for a fee of N2,000,000, but the NDLEA operatives disrupted the attempt and seized the cargo after apprehending the suspect.