Akure High Chief arrested with eight bags of Indian hemp

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Osun State has arrested an Akure high chief for allegedly being in possession of eight bags of Indian  hemp.

The agency’s Acting State Commander, Samuel Gadzama, disclosed this on Wednesday in Osogbo.

The 52-year-old suspect  was arrested with his cousin on September 23 in Iwo.

“The surveillance team of the command was monitoring the movement of the two suspects in a Honda saloon car marked BC 57 FST coming  from Ilesa before it was finally stopped at Iwo.

“The team initially wanted to trace them to where they were going to supply the eight bags of Indian hemp weighing 45.45 kg, but swooped on them when they (suspects) wanted to escape after discovering  that the officers were trailing them,’’ Mr Gadzama said.

He said that investigation was still going on, adding that the suspects would be charged to court at the appropriate time.

But when questioned, the high chief denied any involvement in the case.

He claimed that he only assisted his cousin in transporting the weeds to Iwo.

“I got to know what was inside the bags when he (second suspect) supplied two bags to a customer in Ilesa before heading to Iwo with the remaining eight bags.

“I am from a popular family in Oba Ile, Akure and a respected chief in Akure land,  so I cannot indulge in criminal act,” he added.

Mr Gadzama further disclosed that 45 hectares of Indian hemp were destroyed between August and September in the state while 309.685kg of Indian hemp was recovered from traffickers and cultivators.

He said that the latest farm destruction exercise held  on Tuesday  at the Oloro-Araromi Forest Reserve in Isokan Local Government Area of the state where five hectares of Indian hemp were  destroyed.

Drug trafficker hides cocaine inside roasted chicken

Officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the weekend arrested a man suspected to be in possession of 2.655 kilogrammes of cocaine hidden inside roasted chicken.

According to the agency the arrest was made at the Murtala Muhammed international airport in Lagos during the inward clearance of passengers on a Turkish Airline flight from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

NDLEA put the street value of the seized drug at about N24 million.

The NDLEA Airport Commander, Hamza Umar who gave the name of the suspect as Vincent Chegini Chinweuwa described the seizure as remarkable.

“We discovered 2.655kg of cocaine hidden inside roasted chicken. It is a remarkable seizure because no one would have imagined cocaine worth several millions inside roasted chicken,” Mr Hamza said.

“During interrogation, the suspect said he thought that the drug will not be detected. In his words,” NDLEA said.

According to the agency, the suspect said: “It took me three days to pack the cocaine inside the roasted chicken. I was confident that the drug will not be detected. I have been living in Brazil since 2006. Life has been stressful because I cannot even visit my wife in Nigeria due to lack of money. I wanted some money to start any business of my choice back home. Unfortunately, I was disappointed upon arrival in Lagos”.

The agency’s spokesperson, Mitchell Ofoyeju said the suspect who hails from Imo State will soon be charged to court soon.

N25 million compensation: Baba Suwe’s case to receive accelerated hearing

The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division has granted an accelerated hearing of the appeal filed by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) against the decision of Honourable Justice Yetunde Idowu of the High Court of Lagos awarding N25 Million in favour of ace Comedian Babatunde Omidina, popularly known as Baba Suwe.

The Court of Appeal held that rather than hear or take the Application for stay of execution filed by the Agency, it was more disposed to granting an accelerated hearing of the appeal.

The court then adjourned to the 18th of October for the hearing of the substantive appeal.

Also, the Court of Appeal granted the application filed by counsel to the comedian, Bamidele Aturu for extension of time within which to file his Respondent brief.

Upon grant of the application, the court ordered the Appellant, the NDLEA, to file its reply brief on points of law within 14 days.

It will be recalled that Baba Suwe was arrested by operatives of the NDLEA at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport on the 12th of October 2011 on the suspicion that he had ingested narcotics or hard drugs.

He was confined for a period of 23 days without any evidence that he ingested any narcotic or banned substance as he did not excrete any such.

Based on this, he approached the High Court of Lagos State by way of application for the enforcement of his fundamental rights claiming in the main that his arrest and detention on suspicion of drug trafficking without trial were unlawful and unconstitutional. He also asked the court to order the NDLEA to apologise to him in three National newspapers.

With today proceedings, the battle to collect the N25m awarded to him by the Lagos High Court has now shifted to the Court of Appeal.

FG vows not to appeal for any Nigerian caught for drug trafficking abroad

With more than a million Nigerians in different foreign prisons on account of drug related offences the federal government has warned that it will not appeal for clemency on behalf of anyone indicted in any country across the world.

The government’s position was announced by the office of Secretary to the government, at an event to mark the 2012 International Day against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.

An aide of the Secretary to the government , Mr Ferdinand Agu  said while government will continue to support law abiding Nigerians, drug traffickers will not be assisted by the government  because they are fully aware of the consequences of their actions.

He advised Nigerians to seek ways of earning an honest living even as the government continue to work towards providing the adequate environment for them to thrive, to avoid falling into that state of hopelessness.

The Senate President, David Mark also recently declared the nation’s upper legislature will not intervene in cases of Nigerians found guilty of criminal activities in foreign countries.  He however said that the government would not allow any Nigerian to be unfairly treated in foreign nations.

The chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the country representative of the United Nations office on drug and crimes, the director general of National Agency for Food and Drug Control (NAFDAC) and the executive secretary of NAPTIP, school children and Nigerians drawn from different works of life were all present at an event to mark the international day against drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking.

Although the year under review indicates that 3,028 persons have been arrested for drug trafficking and about 66.273kilograms of illicit drugs confiscated, what has become more worrisome is the increasing level of the use of hard drugs in Nigeria, which also regarded as a transit country.

Experts say there is a need to shift from supply suppression to demand reduction as statistics indicate that the use of hard drugs in Nigeria is growing at an increasing rate.

With these alarming statistics, the NDLEA is evolving strategies that will go beyond the enforcement of laws guarding against the abuse and illicit trafficking of drugs to preventive measures that will curtail the urge for use and trading, especially amongst young Nigerians.

And for those who dare to traffic these drugs outside the shore of the country, the federal government warns that it will not be drawn into negotiations for clemency on their behalf.

While the awareness of the problems of drug abuse and trafficking are brought to the front burner at forums such as this ,experts say that efforts to fight the menace will only be effective if they are rooted in partnerships with the young, old, civil society, government and international community.


NDLEA parades 11 peddlers/users of hard drugs in Port Harcourt

Eleven persons, including seven men and four women, were on Friday arrested by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Port Harcourt for being in possession of and peddling various hard drugs with total weight of 347.732 kilograms.

Commander of the rivers state command of the NDLEA, Jude Ekure, who told journalists at a briefing in his office in Port Harcourt, said substances comprising cocaine, heroin and cannabis were retrieved from a joint operation with operatives from the 2 Amphibious, Port Harcourt barracks, on the slum at Abonnema wharf.

According to him, the operation which started at about 3am, caught the peddlers in the slum unawares, a factor which he said made it a success.

The NDLEA boss who said the state needed a lot of work to do in the area of drug abuse and illicit trafficking, going by the volume of hard drugs that were impounded from just a single operation in one area, noting that there is need to pay real attention and not lip service to ending the drug menace in the state.

He said “the operation was carried at about 3am this morning between officials of the NDLEA and operatives of the 2nd brigade of the Nigerian Army at Abonnema wharf. At the end of the day we made 11 arrests, seven males and four females.

“A total of 347.732 kilogrammes of hard drugs, comprising cannabis, heroine and cocaine were recovered from that scene of operation. If from one operation in one small area, we were able to recover this volume of hard drugs, it goes to say that the state has a lot to do in tackling the problem drug abuse and illicit trafficking,” said the anti-drug chief.

He further stated that the agency had not carried out any operation in the area all along because it was taking its time to do a thorough job “by the arrests and seizure this morning you will agree with me that we have some impact”.

The suspects were later paraded with the seized illegal items. Some of the suspects paraded are Elizabeth West, a first year student of Banking and Finance department of Ramat Polytechnic, Maiduguri-Borno state, Nene Johnson, Festus Okumgba, Jude Okpara and Grace Etel among others

Ekure said the suspects were going to be prosecuted accordingly.