NDLEA arrests Brazilian returnee, Amaechi at Port Harcourt airport for importing cocaine
•Uncovers 4.56kg crack in lawn mowers’ tyres; seizes tons of tramadol, codeine in Zamfara, Kogi, Kaduna, Kano
•Raises the alarm over increased intake of illicit drugs in Imo
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have arrested a Brazilian returnee, Okechukwu Francis Amaechi, who had just finished serving his jail term for drug trafficking in the South American country.
The 45-year-old ex-convict from Idemili South Council, Anambra State, was arrested at the Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA) on Saturday. May 7, upon his arrival from Brazil via Doha onboard Qatar Airline flight QR1433.
The agency also intercepted 24 parcels of cocaine concealed in 12 tyres of lawn mowers imported into the country through PHIA from him.
NDLEA’s spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, in a statement, yesterday, said preliminary investigations revealed that Amaechi, who was arrested and convicted in Brazil for drug offences completed serving his jail sentence in March 2022, after which he decided to return to Nigeria with three new lawn mowers where he concealed 24 parcels of cocaine weighing 4.56kg.
“Curiously, each parcel concealed in the tyres of the three lawn mowers bears some unique inscriptions, which are believed to be means of identification of the owners of the drug.
“The two parcels in one of the tyres of the first lawn mower, bear “O LORD” and “HAVE MERCY”. The parcels in one of the tyres of the second mower bear the inscriptions, “IN GOD” and “WE TRUST”, while the third mower has “IJIOMA” and “186.6” inscribed on the two parcels hidden in one of its tyres.
“Amaechi claimed one of his church members gave him the lawn mowers to deliver to his brother in Port Harcourt,” Babafemi said.
The Agency’s spokesperson said: “In other operations across Zamfara, Kogi, Rivers, Kaduna and Kano State, no fewer than 37, 876 tablets of pharmaceutical opioids, especially tramadol; 10,884 bottles of codeine and 825.016 kilogrammes of Cannabis sativa were recovered during raids in the past week.
“In Zamfara State, a Mercedes Benz truck marked XB 986 AGB from Onitsha to Sokoto was intercepted in Tsafe area on Friday, May 20.
“Apart from the driver and his assistant that were arrested, three other persons: Alex Chukwuemeka, 37; Ignatius Mokwe Odikpo, 47 and Andrew Chijokwe, 47, who are owners of the drug exhibits, were arrested in a follow up operation at a hotel in Gusau while waiting to receive the consignment for possible movement to Sokoto.
“Seized from them include: 9,900 bottles of codeine, 599.3kg Cannabis and 15,889 tablets of other opioids.
“In Kogi State, a fake security agent, Richard Agada, was arrested on Wednesday, May 18, while conveying 10 bags of Cannabis sativa weighing 116.8kg in a white Nissan van. “ Various quantities of opioids and Cannabis were equally seized in two separate operations the previous Tuesday and Monday in other parts of the state with the arrest of a drug dealer, Ayuba Nda Isah, 32.
“Three suspects: Nornu Abanne, Yirakpoa Emmanuel and Dornu Gbarazia were arrested at Kaani and Bori communities with 90kg of Cannabis and 1.5gramme of cocaine on Wednesday, May 18.”
IN Kaduna, narcotics operatives arrested three suspects: Nura Salis, Bawa Musa, and Charity Jacob on Tuesday , May 17, at Warri Street within the state capital with 4,900 tablets of tramadol, 890 ampoules of Diazepam injection, 257 ampoules of pentazocine injection, 1,950 tablets of Nitrazepam and 830 tablets of Carbazapine.
Equally, in Kano State, a drug dealer, Abubakar Abdullahi, 47, with 5,970 capsules and tablets of tramadol was arrested, while Nasiru Musa and Musa Mohammed were also nabbed with 5,000 caps of the same drug on Tuesday, May 17.
While commending the officers and men of PHIA, Zamfara, Kogi, Rivers, Kaduna and Kano commands of the Agency for the arrests and seizures, Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (Retd), said the war against drug abuse and trafficking is one that must be won.
He, therefore, charged all commands of the Agency to remain on the offensive against the cartels as they sent advocacy messages to communities and schools.
MEANWHILE, the Agency has expressed concerns over the prevalence of drug abuse and other related crimes in Imo State. It disclosed that the consumption rate has doubled in the past six months in the state.
The state Commander, Reuben Ape, made the disclosure at the conferment of an Ambassadorial Award to Evangelist Mike Ikeokwu, Chief Executive Officer of Boss Radio, Owerri, in recognition of his efforts in assisting the fight against social ills.
Ape, who blamed the situation majorly on lack of employment and human capacity development opportunities both in the state and across the country, urged stakeholders in the state to partner in efforts aimed at tackling the menace.
He warned that if actions were not taken urgently to curb the vice, the society would struggle to maintain sanity and stability, especially among the young people and future generations.
Responding, Ikeokwu appreciated NDLEA for the recognition and assured of his continued support and commitment for a better Nigeria and human society at large.
“Be rest assured that we are very committed to this fight and we will do everything humanly possible to make sure we win because when we win, Nigeria has won,” Ikeokwu said.