NDLEA: Marwa Heaves A Sigh Of Relief Over The Success Of The Renewed Drug War in Less Than Two Months

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By Stephen Ubanna

The drug cartel  in Nigerian  knew that they were in trouble  the moment President Muhammadu Buhari appointed  Buba Marwa , a Brigadier General ,rtd, and  former Nigeria Ambassador, to South Africa, as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA,  last January.

 They may have played into Marwa’s hand with the seizure of 26.840 Kg of cocain and heroin at the Murtala Muhammed International Airprt, Ikeja, Lagos,  worth about N30 billion and an additional 40 parcels  of cocain weighing 43.11Kg, valued at about N32 billion at the Lagos port of Tin-can Island  on February 8, 2021.   The Cocain and heroin which was unloaded at the Tincan Island port  was  allegedly smuggled into  the lagos port   on board  MV.SPAR SCORPIO from the North American  country of Brazil, described the woldove  as a high risk .

The seizure of the  large quantities of cocain and heroin from the MMIA and the Tincan Island port may have forced the NDLEA  Chairman to mobilise his men to beam their searchlight  atthe country’s International airports in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Lagos, PorttHarcourt, Enugu, and Kano as well as the Lagos ports of Apapa, Tincan Island, s  Port Multi-services Terminal Limited, PTML, Kiri-Kirikiri Lighter Terminal , phases I & II.

Marwa: Chairman/CEO, NDLEA

The agency operatives were said to  have also  beamed their searchlight on the south east  ports of PortHarcourt Area II, Onne, Rivers port, which Hajia Hadiza Bala Usman, the Nigerian Ports Authority , NPA, Managing Director, had said , may soon be abandoned  as it has outlived its lifespan  and the Delta port of Warri. The NDLEA, officials were said to have equally beamed their searchlight on the port of Calabar, Cross river state to ensure that that the drug barons  will not  route their smuggled cocain and heroin into the country through these underutilized  south east ports.

The agency focus at the seaports in its drug war in the last one and half months  appeared  to have paid off. Only recently,  the Marwa boys at the  Premier port of Apapa, intercepted a ”40” Container load of Tramadol, allegedly shipped into the country from the Asian ountry of India. The agency in its official Twitter handle had said that 554 cartons tramadol discovered in the Container of had 1,994,400, capsules of tramadol stuffed in them. The importer, according to an NDLEA source had   falsely declared Consignment  by the as Ceramic tiles  , with hope that he  could penetrate ranks of the Nigerian Customs service , NCS, personnel and  other security agencies Operatives including the NDLEA,  officials , that would be involved in the examination of the  cargo  at the port to facilitate its prompt release.  He got it wrong.

Tramadol Intercepted At Apapa port By NDLEA Operatives

Samuel Gadzama,  the Apapa port Area Commander of NDLEA, disclosed that the Container load of the tramadol which was shipped to Nigeria through the Premier port, Apapa,  was discovered  during a joint Inspection of the ship which had brought the Container  load of tramadol  during a Joint Examination  by all the approved security agencies personnel. The NDLEA Operatives may have cited the cited the Container based on available information at its disposal  before the Customs personnel could think of  breaking the seal before  all the other agencies operatives.

The  value News learnt that the NDLEA , officials cited the Container  loaded with the tramadol, they pleaded that it be set aside for proper Examination. The Apapa Command Examination officers and were said to obliged the NDLEA officials of their request. The Seal of the Container was broken  and opened  for all the security agencies to see.  Some hired labourers in the port premises were invited to unload the cartons in the  Container , numbering 554. The cartons were said to have ben opened one after the other  and  a total of 1, 994,400 Capsules of tramadol were found in them. Going by the Customs and Excise Management Act , Cap 2004,  it is liable to outright seizure.

 Indeed, the Apapa Customs Command seized it. Based on the inter-agency relationship, the hard drug was said to have been handed over to the NDLEA by the Customs Authorities for further Investigations. There are fears in both official and unofficial circles that nothing may come out of the on-going Investigations on the Apapa port Container load of tramadol imports. This is because there had been similar incidents in the past where the Customs Authorities had handed over intercepted Tramadol  drugs to the NDLEA, for further Investigations but that was  how far the matter ended.

Given, Marwa’s antecedents,  Nigerians may not have any cause  to worry about the outcome of the ongoing  Investigations on the  recent hundreds of cartons  of tramadol imports at Apapa port as the suspects found guilty  would surely be exposed  and dragged to Court as a deterrence to other hard drug importers and their foreign Collaborators.

The rumour making the rounds  was that the  tramadol importer had shipped two Container loads of tramadol to Nigeria  though the Apapa seaport  but one of the Containers was discovered at the port of Nairobi, Kenya, and subsequently seized.

Many believe that if the Addisa Ababa, Ethiopian  airport Authorities  had intercepted the 26.840 Kg, cocain/Heroin  loaded in an Ethiopian Airline from Sao Paulo, Brazil, to, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Nigeria, when it was discovered it would  have sent a signal to drug syndicate that there is no hiding place  for them  in the African Continent.

But the  Ethiopian Aviation Authorities had surprised  Nigerians when they allowed the Flight   loaded with the prohibited drug  that had landed at its airport for refueling and normal routine  Checks to depart to Nigeria with the drugs  which all the necessary information had been provided  to the NDLEA officials  at the MMIA, on how to locate the agent carrying the drug.

This  may have informed why the NDLEA operatives at the various International airports in the country, particular,  the MMIA, have beamed their searchlight on all Ethiopia Commercial  aircrafts flying into Nigeria from   different parts of the world, particular, Brazil. The Ethiopian Airline Authorities may have to redeem its image before the Marwa led NDLEA, to avoid losing most of its Nigerian International Passengers to other International airlines, particular, the British Airways and Emirates airlines.

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