The suspected owner of a consignment of tramadol concealed in a bottle of dietary supplements, which caused a furore at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, on Tuesday, has been arrested by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.

The NDLEA’s spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, revealed on Sunday that the suspect was arrested on Friday.

A viral video claimed that the suspect being tortured on his knees while being slapped by another on Tuesday was an employee of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria.

The man was being tortured by a passenger for attempting to use the latter to traffic drugs to Accra, Ghana.FAAN had on Wednesday distanced itself from the man and declared that he was an employee of an aviation services company operating within the airport premises.

It stated that the passenger resorted to slapping the officer whom he had compelled to kneel before him after he had raised an alarm alleging that he was being set up for drug trafficking.

Babafemi in a statement, on Sunday, noted that FAAN transferred the suspect and the exhibit to the NDLEA on Thursday.

“Preliminary findings by the NDLEA showed the parcel contained 50 pills of tramadol concealed in a bottle of dietary supplements.“A follow-up operation by the NDLEA led to the arrest of the suspect upon his return from Ghana on Friday. He has confirmed ownership of the drug,’’ Babafemi stated.He added that two freight agents and a traveller have also escaped being roped into two drug trafficking operations by desperate traffickers at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja.Babafemi said the two agents were contacted to send a consignment of 1kg Indian hemp concealed in tins of chocolate drink to Turkey and they chose to submit the shipment to the NDLEA checks before processing the cargo.

Meanwhile, operatives of different special units of the NDLEA have intercepted large consignments of cocaine and colorado, a strong strain of cannabis, concealed in containerised household items and vehicles imported from Durban, South Africa and Canada at the Tincan Seaport in Lagos.

The NDLEA noted that following coordinated intelligence and months of tracking of the containers by three special units of the agency, the illicit drugs along with arms, ammunition and sundry military effects were seized during a joint examination of the three containers by the its officers and their counterparts from Nigeria Customs Service and other security agencies between Thursday 11 and Friday 19, January 2024.

Babafemi noted, “Some of the agency’s sniffer dogs were also deployed to help identify locations and bags used in concealing the illicit items.“Some of the items recovered from the containers include: 1, 274 parcels of cocaine and colorado with a total weight of 884.09 kilograms; four pistols; 197 rounds of 9mm ammunition, 49 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, 275 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition, 14 rounds of 9mm ammunition and sundry military personnel effects as well as some chemicals in kegs.

“With the exception of 32.5kg shipment of colorado that came in used vehicles from Canada, the rest of the items were found in two of the three containers that arrived the Tincan port from Durban, South Africa onboard a vessel marked MSC RESILIENT III and discharged on New Year Eve, December 31, 2023. A suspect linked to one of the containers, UACU 5348336, bearing the 32.5kg colorado, 41-year-old Akara Chibugo, has already been tracked and arrested by the NDLEA operative,”He added, “In the same vein, the NDLEA operatives on Friday, January 19, arrested one Okosun Punitt, the consignee of a consignment of tramadol concealed in a bottle of dietary supplements, which an employee of Pathfinder International Ltd, Ajuzieogu Ugochukwu, attempted sending through an intending passenger on Ibom Air to Accra, Ghana at the Lagos airport on Tuesday, January 16.

“A video of the face-off between the passenger and Ajuzieogu later went viral after the vigilant passenger suspected the consignment contained illicit substances. Both Ajuzieogu and the exhibit were later transferred to the NDLEA on Thursday, January 18, by FAAN for investigation.

“Preliminary findings by the NDLEA showed the parcel contained 50 pills of tramadol 225mg concealed in a bottle of dietary supplements. A follow-up operation by the agency led to the arrest of Okosun upon his return from Ghana on Friday. He has in his statement confirmed ownership of the drug.”

In Kano, no fewer than f5, 653,000 pills of tramadol 250mg and exol-5 were seized from three suspects.While Nura Abdullahi, 38, and Tahir Muhammad Mukhtar, 42, were arrested at Bacharawa area of Kano with 5, 404,000 pills of tramadol 250mg on Sunday, January 14, Yusuf Umar, 50, was nabbed at the Gadar Tamburawa area of the state the previous day, Saturday, January 13, with 249,000 tablets of exol-5 by operatives.In Lagos, two suspects, Ali Abubakar and Murtala Sani, were arrested at the Ojodu Berger area on Tuesday, January 16, with 110kg of cannabis sativa while 69kg of the same substance was recovered from the hideout of a fleeing suspect in Akerele, Surulere the same day.No fewer than 2, 800 bottles of codeine-based cough syrup were recovered by the NDLEA officers on Saturday, January 20 during a raid operation at Aleita FCT, Abuja.The NDLEA noted that the suspected owner of the consignment, Jideofor Sochima, is still at large.

The statement added, “While a total of 100, 510 pills of opioids were seized from a suspect, Ike Emmanuel, 35, on Thursday, January 18, at Dan-Anacha village, Taraba State, the NDLEA operatives in Abia State arrested 60-year-old Joseph Isiguzoro, as well as Emmanuel Eugene and Malachi Ndu in parts of the state with 34,200 pills of opioids. Isiguzoro was equally found with monetary exhibit totalling N2,885,045 only.”


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