By Elizabeth Chukwuma
When Buba Marwa, a retired Brigadier General and former Nigerian Ambassador, in South African, gave his words on assumption of duties last January as the Chairman and Chief executive officer, CEO, of the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, there is no hiding place for the drug barons, they may have laughed at him.
This is because there had been similar promises in the past by the agency past Chairmen and CEOs to deal ruthlessly with the drug pedllers if they fail stop the illegal business but that was how far they could go. The drug barons may have penetrated the ranks of the NDLEA and other security operatives who gave them cover in the business at the seaports, airports and Land borders.
Mawa , may have known that the only way to win the drug is to give the staff strong leadership and lead by example. It was not surprising that when he first met with the Commanders in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, he had asked them to make the country drug-free by going after the drug peddlers by blocking all the different channels of bringing the illicit drugs into the country. They may have seen it as a challenge and were determined to play along with him to win the drug war both on land, airports and seaports without Compromise.
The NDLEA Commanders in their various locations may have gone back to the drawing board with their Team members in their various locations to restrategise on how to prosecute the drug war this time around and achieve results that would surprise many. The multi-million worth of Cocain and Indian Hemp, that had been intercepted at the Murtala Muhammed International airport, MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos , and Nassarawa respectively speaks volume.
The seizure of these illicit drugs at the MMIA and Nassarawa state may have forced the other NDLA Commanders to be on the alert to ensure the drug smugglers who may want to resort to the use of the Lagos ports of Apapa, Tincan Island, Port Multi-services terminal Ltd, PTML, did not escape. Acting on Intelligence, recently, the Marwa boys at the Tin-Can Island port, described as one of the modern ports in Nigeria, had intercepted and seized 40 parcels of cocain weighing 43.11Kg worth over N32 billion at the Lagos Tin-can Island port, the highest to be made by the agency in the last five years. This is an indication that there is no hiding place for the drug peddlers as the war gets tougher by the day.
Jonah Achema, a Principal Staff officer , PSO, and the agency spokesperson had said that the Consignment which was intercepted by the NDLEA Operatives at the port had been put under surveillance for some days until two clearing agents showed up on Monday, February 8, 2021, to process the importer’s bill of laden at the port in the other to take delivery of the Consignment.
Given an insider information, Sumaila Ethan, the NDLEA, port Commander disclosed that the two Clearing agents who may not have known that the game is up were optimistic of taking delivery of the 40 parcels of cocain as the Collaborators at the port may have assured them that there was no cause for alarm.
Unknown to them, the NDLEA, Operatives who had kept surveillance over the Consignment based on information were lying in wait for them. The duo were said to have been promptly arrested and the Consignment which was brought into the country from the North American country of Brazil on Board a vessel marked MV SPAR SCORPIO, was said to have been properly searched.
An eyewitness account disclosed that it was after the search on the Brazilian vessel that the 40 compressed parcels of Cocain were found. It was said to have been taken to the agency laboratory for test to confirm that it was actually an illicit drug. The source confirmed that after the Laboratory test which established that it was cocain that it was finally seized.
From all indications, it appears that Ikechukwu Eze, the Nigerian drug baron based in Brazil that had been instrumental in sending the illicit drugs to Nigeria by air and through seaports. Perhaps, his next move now would be to ship the Consignment through the Autonomous port of Cotonou, or Bollore ports in Benin and smuggle it into the country through inappropriate routes now the airports and seaports are no longer for the illegal business.
As at press time, the two arrested Clearing agents who had showed up at the port to clear the Consignment were still in NDLEA custody. Marwa, the NDLEA boss, had said that multi-million naira worth of cocain seized at the Tin can Island port, was a manifestation of the agency’s renewed war on drug peddlers and their sponsors.
Many believe that the agency Commanders at the airports, seaports and land borders are leaving no stone upturned to make the country drug-free because of the strong leadership that has been provided by the retired army Brigadier General who is giving the NDLEA Operatives guidance all through their operations. This appears to have made live uncomfortable for the drug syndicate agents and their sponsors in Brazil and many other countries in the drug business, particular, in North and South American Continents.
While briefing the Mdia on the drug seizure at his Ikoyi office, Ethan, the Port Commander, had who could not hide his feelings said that the Tin-can Island port Cocain seizure’’ is coming on the heels of similar seizures at the MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos, , FCT, Edo, Katsina, President Muhammadu Buhari home state, Nassarawa and Benue states Commands in the last three weeks.
An insider told The Value News that Customs Operatives at the tin-can Island port played a major role in the discovery of the drugs in the Container that was discharged at the port on Board the Brazilian vessel.
The Tin-can Island drug seizure may have forced Marwa, the NDLEA boss, to charge the agency Commanders and their Team members across the country to be on the red alert to frustrate these drug syndicates. In an emotional outburst, Marwa had assured the agency operatives, that the Management will will continue to do their best to motivate them to do their job , urging them ‘’to show full commitment discipline, and , dedication to work ’’.