Tuesday, 16th August 2022
<To guardian.ng
Search
Breaking News:

NDLEA arrests alleged billionaire drug baron linked to Abba Kyari’s team

By Bertram Nwannekanma
26 April 2022   |   4:09 am
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), yesterday, announced the arrest of Chief Afam Ukatu, the billionaire drug baron behind the N3b tramadol deal linked to the suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari-led Intelligence Response Team, (IRT).

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), yesterday, announced the arrest of Chief Afam Ukatu, the billionaire drug baron behind the N3b tramadol deal linked to the suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari-led Intelligence Response Team, (IRT).

Ukatu, Chairman of Mallinson Group of Companies was arrested after months of surveillance and evading arrest by anti-narcotic operatives onboard a flight to Abuja at the MM2 terminal of the Lagos airport, Ikeja on Wednesday, April 13.

NDLEA’s spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, in a statement yesterday, said investigations revealed that the suspect has been a major importer of large consignments of different brands and high dosages of tramadol hydrochloride, ranging from 120mg, 200mg, 225mg and 250mg, all of which are illicit.

Babafemi said Ukatu owns pharmaceutical and plastic manufacturing companies, which he used as a cover to import illicit drugs into Nigeria as well as operating 103 bank accounts, most of which are used to launder money.

“Ukatu came under watch last year after five cartons of tramadol 225mg were seized from his staff on May 4, 2021,  when he sent them to sell to undercover police officers (unknown to Ukatu) from the then Kyari-led IRT of the Nigeria Police, Ikeja Lagos.

“The price of a carton of tramadol was negotiated at N17million each as against the then black market value that ranged between N18 million and N20 million a carton in Lagos.

“After the arrest of Ukatu’s staff; Pius Enidom and Sunday Ibekwete, Kyari’s men were then led by the suspects to Mallinson’s warehouse at Ojota in Lagos, where 197 additional cartons of tramadol 225mg were seized by the IRT Team. The monetary value of the 202 cartons of tramadol seized from Mallinson in one day was over N3billion.

“Three weeks after the seizure, the Kyari’s IRT team transferred only 12 cartons of the tramadol with one truck and a suspect to the Lagos Command of the NDLEA, leaving 190 cartons unaccounted for.

“After over eight months of following the lead, anti-narcotic officers of the agency eventually arrested Ukatu at the Lagos airport on April 13, 2022.

“Kyari and four top members of his team are already facing trial for a different, but similar offence at a Federal High Court in Abuja.” he added.