In what appears to be the biggest singular cocaine seizure in the history of Nigeria’s premier anti-narcotic agency, operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, have busted a major warehouse in a secluded estate in Ikorodu area of Lagos where 1.8tons (1,855 kilograms) of the illicit drug worth more than Two Hundred and Seventy Eight Million Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars ($278, 250,000) equivalent of about One Hundred and Ninety Four Billion, Seven Hundred and Seventy Five Million (N194, 775,000,000) Naira in street value were seized.
At least, four drug barons including a Jamaican and the warehouse manager have been arrested in the well coordinated and intelligence led operation that lasted two days across different locations in Lagos state. Kingpins of the cocaine cartel in custody include: Messrs Soji Jibril, 69, an indigene of Ibadan, Oyo state; Emmanuel Chukwu, 65, who hails from Ekwulobia, Anambra state; Wasiu Akinade, 53, from Ibadan, Oyo state; Sunday Oguntelure, 53, from Okitipupa, Ondo state and Kelvin Smith, 42, a native of Kingston, Jamaica. They are all members of an international drug syndicate that the Agency has been trailing since 2018.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari, Monday, congratulated the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (retd), on the recent very successful operation of the Agency leading to the smashing of an international drug syndicate and recovery of 1,855kilograms of cocaine.
In a telephone call to the Chairman of the anti-narcotics agency from New York where he is attending the 77thsession of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 77), President Buhari said that the news of the recovery gladdens his heart.
“I deeply appreciate the work that you have put into the eradication of the drug menace. It gladdens my heart as I continue to follow the successes achieved under your leadership.
“You have demonstrated over and again that choosing you to lead this fight against wicked merchants of death whose sole aim is to endanger and truncate the future of our youth is a very good choice. Please keep up the good work.”
At a meeting later with members of his delegation, the President said, “Buba Marwa is doing well. Two tonnes of cocaine, that’s a haul.”
The NDLEA had announced the “highest cocaine seizure” worth over 278 million dollars and arrest of drug barons including a foreigner in a major operation lasting two days across different locations in Lagos.
Located at 6 Olukuola crescent, Solebo estate, Ikorodu, the warehouse was raided on Sunday 18th September, 2022, while the barons were picked from hotels and their hideouts in different parts of Lagos between Sunday night and Monday 19th September.
Preliminary investigation reveals the class A drugs were warehoused in the residential estate from where the cartel was trying to sell them to buyers in Europe, Asia and other parts of the world. They were stored in 10 travel bags and 13 drums.
While commending all the officers and men of the Agency involved in the extensive investigation including those of the American Drug Enforcement Administration, (US-DEA), Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) said the bust is a historical blow to the drug cartels and a strong warning that they’ll all go down if they fail to realise that the game has changed.