By Suleiman Umaru
The last may not have been heard about the drug deal involving Abba Kyari, an erstwhile Deputy Commissioner of Police, overseeing the Force Intelligence Response Team, IRT, currently being prosecuted by the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, under the close watch of Buba Marwa, a retired Army Brigadier-General and former Nigerian Ambassador to South Africa, in a Federal High Court, Abuja, the Fedral Capital Territory, FCT.
This is because the NDLEA operatives have arrested one Afam Mallison Emmanuel Ukatu, a billionaire drug baron allegedly behind the N3 billion Taramadol deal linked to the embattled DCP Kyari. The arrest of the billionaire drug baron at the Murtala Mohammed MM2, terminal, of the Lagos Airport, on Wednesday, April 13, 2022, after eight months of following the lead by the anti-narcotic officers, may have sent a message to other drug barons still on the run that the game is up.
Femi Babafemi, Director, Media and Advocacy, and spokesperson of the NDLEA, had said that the Agency operatives had mounted a close surveillance on Ukatu, who has been evading arrest over the last five years after five cartons of Tramadol 225 mg were seized from one his company staff on May 4, 2021, when he has sent them ‘’to sell to an undercover police officers unknown to him from the then Kyari –led IRT, of the Nigerian Police Force, NPF’’.
The cartons ofTramadol was said to have been negotiated at N17 million each as against the then black market rate c that ranged between N18 million and N20 million in Lagos, the nation’s commercial nerve centre.
Given an insider information, Babafemi, the NDLEA ,spokesperson, disclosed that the arrest of the billionaire drug staff, by the then Kyari’s led IRT officers, had facilitated the discovery of 197 additional cartons of Tramaol, of 225 mg, in a warehouse at Ojota in Lagos, owned by him by the IRT Team. He had revealed that the street market value of the 202 cartons of Tramadol seized from him in an operation alone inn one day was over N3 billion.
He disclosed that three weeks after the seizure of the over n3 billion naira worth of cartons of Tramadol of 225mg and arrest of a staff of the drug baron’s company, the Kyari -led IRT Teami transferred only 12 cartons of the tramadol with one truck and the suspect to the Lagos Command of the Agency, leaving 190 cartons unaccounted for exposing the rot in the IRT, that needed complete overhaul, by Usman Alkali Baba, the Inspector General of Police, IGP. The IGP did not hasitate in doing so.
Investigations had revealed that the billionaire drug baron had been ’’the major importer of large Consignments of different brands and high dosages of Tramadol Hydrochloride ranging from 120mg, 200mg, 225mg, and 250mg, through the nation’s seaports and the Autonomous Port of Benin, Cotonou, a neighboring country in the West African sub-region, but smuggled into the country through unapproved routes across the country.
The seizure of N1.45 billion worth of tramadol concealed in 200 packages of adult papers in a transit Container, marked MRKU 9090415, in 2021, speaks volume. The Container was said to have been handed over to ComptrollerBello Mohammed Jibo, the Seme Command Area Controller on November 15, 2021, by the Republic of Benin Customs Authorities.
Going by the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, Common External Tariff, CET, 2017 -2021 which had been revised in the 2022-2026 edition, and which have been adopted by the Nigerian government and forward to the Hameed Ali, a retired Army Col led and Comptroller General, Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, for implementation, Tamadol, Codeine Tablets and Syrups, and other dangerous Pharmaceutical Products are prohibited from being imported into the country. The drugs are illicit ‘’, the NDLEA spokesperson had said.
The arrest of the billionaire drug baron, whose name remained a closely guided secret, may have given an insight about him that he operates 103 bank accounts, most of which are used ‘’to launder money’’.
Recall that last February the NDLEA, had declared the Force DCP and erstwhile Commander of the IRT wanted over his involvement in a 25 Kg cocaine deal. He was said to have been arrested alongside four members of his Team, and had hand over to the NDLEA. The for thorough investigations.
Te arrest of the billionaire drug importer who was linked to the IRT Command, DCP Kyari, clearly shows that he and his Team members have been relating with the drug barons over the years until the bubble burst.