By Stephen Ubanna
When Buba Marwa, a retired Brigadier General and former Nigerian Ambassador to South Africa, and now, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, enjoined Nigerians engaged in ’’the importation, export, Cultivation , processing, manufacture and Consumption of Cocain and other illicit substances to stop’’ on assumption of duties on Monday, January 18, 2021, nobody took him serious.
This is because there had been similar call by past Chairmen and CEOs of the agency to the drug traffickers to stop the illicit business but that was how far they could go. The situation was so bad that President Muhammadu Buhari , a retired army General, was said to have set up a Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse, PACEDA, in the country, which was headed by Marwa. The Committee may have done a good job on how to stop the drug abuse in the country, which report had been submitted to the Katsina state born Nigerian President.
The Nigerian President may have known that the only way to get the PACWDA, report could be fully implemented without developing K-leg is to appoint Marwa, the retired army Brigadier General, who headed the PACDA to step into the Chairmanship position of the agency to implement the PACEDA report.. He had his way.
This may have given Marwa the opportunity to declare on assumption of duties that he will ‘’ overhaul and expand the agency in line with the recommendations of the PACEDA’’ to the Nigerian President . He was said to have also promised to develop a strategy of action ‘’to meet the objectives in the National Drug Control Master plan, 2021 -2025, as a roadmap.’
In meeting with the Commanders recently at his Abuja office recently, he had given them a matching ordr ‘’ to go all out and make drug seizures’’, as a way of depriving the dealers their sources of supply and further discourage the Consumes from having access to it. The Commanders may have taken the o the Brigadier General’s order very serious that they went back to the drawing board a and restrategised on how to how to put their training on how to identity drug peddles into practice
This may have informed why security was tightened up securi at the seaports, airports and land borders to fish out suspected drug traffickers. Informed sources told The Value News that the security arrangement was more pronounced at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport,MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve center described as a major of the drug syndicate in the country.
The fallout was the seizures of a 26.840 Kg Cocain, with a market values of about N30 billion at the MMIA, on January 27, 2021 by a Team led by one Ahmadu Garba. It was said to be one of the largest single seizure of Cocain that had been made at the busy MMIA, over the last five years.
The Cocain seizure was said to have been made during the ‘’inward Clearance of an Ethiopian Airline Passengers at the E wing-arrival hall of the airport’’ . Onyjegbu Ifesinachi Jennifer, a 33 year-old female Passenger who was said to have arrived the MMIA, from the North American country of Brazil town of Sao Paulo , through Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian Capital, was said to have been caught with the drug . The Nigerian Ethiopian airline female passenger was said to have been nabbed by the agile NDLEA Operatives at the airport based on Credible information.
She may have been arrested by the agency officials because of its standard Operating Procedure that all Passengers from high risk drug countries must be profiled whenever their flight arrived any of the country’s International airports, using the Passenger’s manifest to ensure that no Passenger disappears into thin air.
The information about the 33 year –old Nigerian female drug courier flying the Ethiopian airline may have leaked out to the NDLEA personnel through an oversea informant that all attentions were focused on fishing her out as the Ethiopian airline flight arrived the MMIA and all the Passengers directed to the E-arrival wing for proper profiling.
She was said to have been identified and quickly whisked away to the NDLEA office at the airport amidst tight security. It was gathered that it was during the searching by the female NDLEA ,officials on her travel bags that ‘’the whitish powdery substances Concealed inside 16 pieces of duvet were ound, an indication that she has been a die-had courier of rug in the country for a syndicate. The suspected drug , was said to have be subjected to laboatory test to make assurance doubly sure that it was actually Cocain subastances that that were in the Passenger’s travel bags.
The Suspect who is a Nigerian hair stylist based in Brazil was said to have told the NDLEA officials who had interrogated her over the Concain discovery in her two travel bags that she had agreed ‘’ to smuggle the hard dug into the country for one Ikechukwu Eze for the sum of N2 million’’. She was said to have volunteered information that she was instructed to hand over the drug to the receiver, one Emmanuel Iyke Aniebonam, no relation of Bonniface Aniebonnam, founder of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders, NAGAFF.
The said Iyke, who was said to be very happy that the Ethiopian airline he was expecting had successfully arrived he country. He was optimistic, of taking delivery of the drug from Jennifer, who has been detailed by Eze, the sender to hand it over to him at the airport. Unknown to him, the NDLEA , Operatives were after him as he has been named as the receiver in Nigeria. Unknown to him the deal had leaked and the NDLEA officials were looking out for him at the National Cargo Handling Company , NAHCO, shed, where he was waiting to take delivery of the 26.840 Kg of Cocain. He was cited at NAHCO and arrested, making two persons that had been arrested w in connection with the 26.840 Kg drug imports into the country from Brazil.
Iyke was said to have confessed during interrogation by the NDLEA officials that he was actually instructed by the sender, Eze, to take delivery of the cocain . He had roped in the third person,one Onwurah Kelvin, in the deal . He had sent him to be at the MMIA to collect the hard drug from Iyke and join him at Ibis Royal Hotel, a few miles away from the MMIA. He fell into the waiting hands of the NDLEA officials at the airport. Preliminary Investigation shows that he has confirmed that he was instructed by Eze to receive the Consignment in Nigeria.
The detained Jennifer’s traveller’s bags were said to have been brought out and opened in the presence of the three arrested suspects, Jennifer, Iyke and Kelvin and the whitish powdery substance were discovered neatly Concealed and sewn in five Cildren duvets. As at press time, the three drug suspects, who are a Eze’s agents in Nigeria, were still in detention, awaiting to be dragged to Court.
Recall that on ` Monday, January 25, 2021, a red luggage which was declared to the NDLEA Operatives at the MMIA as, a left-over a the t E – wing arrival hall of the airport , after the inward Clearance of Passengers on an Ethiopian airline that had landed at the MMIA, alleged to have arrived from Sao Pualo, Brazil, was found to cotain cocain , allegedly belonging to Eze . He may have used different channels to smuggle the hard drug into the country but luck ran out of him this time around him.
Going by the records and trends of arrests of drug barons all over the world including Nigeria in the recent time, the Brazilian town of Sao-Pulo, has been classified as a high risk drug destination. It is not surprising why Passengers flying from the town into any part of the world including Nigeria , via, the Ethiopian airline or any other airline is regarded as a drug suspect, until properly profiled at the airport and let off the hook.
Marwa and his Commanders have every reason to run after the drug syndicate who are giving Nigerian bad name in the Comity of nations as a high risk drug country. More so, there had been news making the rounds that there are over 15 million drug users in the country. The NDLEA records in 2018 alone, shows that about 14.3 million Nigerians between the ages of 15 and 64 were found to be drug users. This may have informed why Marwa has vowed to seek the National Assembly approval to conduct drug tests on tertiary institutions’ students’, particular, the new students, security agencies fresh recruits and political appointees.
Given an insider information on how to go about the drug tests to his field Commanders at a recent meeting in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, he had said that the agency would soon propose to the National Assembly the necessity for the drug tests for all tertiary institutions new students.
The NDLEA Chairman had said that the ‘’exponential growth of the nefarious drug activities in the country can be ‘’directly linked to the upsurge in insurgency, in the north east states of Adamawa, Borno, Ybe, and Banditry in the north west states of Zamfara and Katsina, Buhari home state, kidnapping in different parts of the country, cultism in tertiary institutions, political thugggery, gangsterism, rape, and other mal adaptation bedeviling the society’’.
The Leadership of the National Association of Nigerian tudents, NANS, appears to have thrown their weight about the NDLEA planned proposal to the National Assembly for students ‘’to udergo drug integrity test before admission into the tertiary Institutions, particular, the Universities.
That much was confirmed by Jonah Achema, a Principal Staff officer and the agency Public Relations officer. Achema , who had issued a Statement , had quoted Sunday Asefon, NANS President as making the declaration during a Solidarity visit to the NDLEA Chairman in his Abuja office. This should serve as a good news to Nigerians as the NANS officials knows where the shoe pinches and how to contain the problem.
An appreciative Marwa had thanked the NANS officials for buying into the agency drug testing among students, describing it as ‘’encouraging’’. Appealing to the NANs Leadership to strengthen theDrug-Free Clubs in the Universities, he disclosed that it is the only way ‘’ to determine the students early enough and decide the formof prevention to deploy ‘’.