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CRIME

Present Your Evidence, Claim, Panel Tells Police

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*As Police Deny, Accuse NSCDC Of Shooting Petitioner* 

The Nigerian Police on Thursday told the IIP-SARS that some of their officers were wrongly mentioned by Prince Chigaemezu Ojinnaka who alleged that he was shot by the police, whereas he was actually shot by an Officer of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

A prosecution witness1 (PW1) CSP Dan Iroakazi while being led by Police Counsel, Fidelis Ogwobe testified before the 11-Member panel presided by Dr. Garba Tentengi (SAN) on behalf of the Chairman Justice Suleiman Galadima (rtd) that it was personnel of NSCDC on Operation Search and Flush that shot the petitioner and not the police as alleged.

Testifying before the panel, CSP Dan Iroakazi, who heads one of the police operations in Imo State told the panel that there is a security outfit created by the Imo State Government called Operation Search and Flush.

CSP Iroakazi disclosed that the outfit is made up of all security agencies in Nigeria namely; the Police, Army, Air force, Customs, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA), Nigerian Correctional Service, DSS, and they all work as a joint task team, however, administratively they report independently to their superior within their jurisdiction.

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In giving details about Operation Search and Flush, CSP Iroakazi noted that for ease of operation, each agency has its designated location within the 27 LGA in Imo State to monitor the security situation, for the Police the operation vehicle is tagged N0.18 covering Njaba LGA, while NSCDC is tagged N0. 39 and they cover Isu LGA where the incident allegedly happened.

Continuing his narration, he informed the panel that in April 2020, he received a call that there was a mob attack on the police team at Njaba LGA, while a boy was shot at Isu LGA.

Immediately he swung into action by calling the Commander of Operation Search and Flush of the Nigerian Correctional Service and that of NSCDC before they proceeded to the hospital where the petitioner was taken to.

CSP Iroakazi said that from the narration the petitioner gave, the location of the incident and the number on the security vehicle made him know it was not the police that shot him as alleged, rather it was the NSCDC.

Thereafter, he reported back to his office and the matter was referred to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Imo State to investigate and the NSCDC has been compelled to produce personnel of security vehicle N0. 39 for questioning.

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On cross-examination, Counsel to the Petitioner, Eusepius Anyanwu urged the panel to give him a short time to gather his documents to cross-examine the CSP on his testimony before the panel.

From the foregoing, Dr. Garba Tetengi SAN instructed all parties to provide documentary evidence of the investigation, he told the police to “bring out the evidence that it was the NSCDC and not the police that shot the boy, this will help the police clear its name” he added

It will be recalled that in February 2021, Prince Ojinnaka testified that two policemen shot him on his foot at close range, around Amuzie Omanze road, Umuku/Isu Njaba community, and immediately fled the scene in a van marked NO 18 with the inscription of “Search and Flush”

In its ruling, the panel stated that to arrive at the justice of in the case, the panel will not rely on oral submissions. The panel further directed that all parties should present their evidence and substantiate their claims. The panel adjourned to 26th November 2021 for the continuation of cross-examination and for all parties to avail panel with all relevant documents to support their case.

In another development, in the case of alleged denial of access to justice brought by Marcellinus  Gu, Panel Counsel led by Chino Obiagwu (SAN) announced the submission of written address in this matter, and Fidelis Ogwobe, Police counsel promised to submit his response to the address before the end of the day.

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CRIME

NDLEA Arrests Three Wanted Drug Kingpins, Intercepts Oman-Bound Drug Shipment

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Suspects

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) arrested three members of an organised criminal organisation that specialises in illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Europe, and America more than two months after they were declared wanted.

Their arrest followed the recent seizure of the single largest consignment of heroin at Lagos’ Murtala Muhammed International Airport.

According to a statement issued on Sunday by the anti-narcotics agency’s spokesman, Femi Babafemi, a total of 51.9 kilogrammes of heroin were recovered from members of the drug cartel during an operation that began on February 10th, 2024 at the SAHCO Import Shed of the Lagos Airport Cargo Terminal.

He recalled that the consignment was concealed in 15 cartons of 2300-watt metal cutting machines, with no less than 45 blocks of the illicit substance weighing 49.70 kilogrammes recovered from the equipment, and an additional 2.2 kilogrammes seized at the syndicate’s warehouse in Lagos’ Ayobo area.

He stated that while the agency obtained an interim forfeiture court order on hotels, mansions, vehicles, and funds traced to syndicate members after apprehending four of them, a manhunt was also launched for those who went underground.

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He stated that the effort paid off last Friday, when two of the wanted kingpins, Onyinyechi Igbokwuputa and Frankline Uzochukwu, were apprehended in Lagos and Awka, Anambra state, respectively, with another wanted member of the syndicate, Osita Obinna, apprehended in Lagos.

According to Babafemi, NDLEA officers foiled a suspect, Iheakara Ifeanyichukwu,’s attempt to export a drug consignment through Terminal 2 of Lagos Airport to Muscat, Oman via Ethiopian Airlines flight last Thursday. When his luggage was searched, 20 big parcels of cannabis weighing 9.80 kilogrammes were discovered concealed in his bag.

Iheakara, who lives in Muscat, Oman and returned to Nigeria on 1st April, in his statement confessed he was hired to courier the drug with an agreement to get paid N1.2 million upon successful delivery in Oman.

Babafemi revealed that In Adamawa state, NDLEA operatives last Saturday intercepted a Peugeot car driven by Dahiru Mohammed at Girei on his way to Mubi with 1,250,000 pills of opioids weighing 450 kilogrammes. The operatives had earlier intercepted along Ngurore -Yola road a J5 bus marked AAA790XV loaded with motor spare parts from Onitsha, Anambra State, with consignments of codeine syrup and tramadol concealed in-between the motor parts. A follow up operation led to the arrest of the recipient, Jairus Nwanchor at Jambutu motor park .

He said three suspects: Beriakuma Chinrdu, 40; Okpor Isaac, 68, and Daniel Onyeachom, 42, were last Saturday arrested at Amarata,Yenagoa, Bayelsa state in connection with the seizure of 69 compressed blocks of cannabis weighing 36 kilogrammes and concealed in a false compartment of a Toyota Picnic car marked MUS 711 DH they were travelling in. This is even as NDLEA operatives in Imo state last Thursday arrested Kingsley Omeje, 41, at Amajeke, Owerri while he was taking delivery of 49 bottles of codeine syrup he ordered.

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In Ondo state, NDLEA operatives raided the Oloro camp in Ogbese, Akure North local government area, arresting Linus Odogwu, 50, and destroying 25,000 kilogrammes of cannabis on 10 hectares of farmland while recovering 89.5 kilogrammes of the same substance. Three other suspects: David Ekepenyoung, 22; Oluwaseun Folorunso, 23; and Rabiu Musa, 32, were nabbed in other parts of the state in connection to different seizures totaling 77 kilogrammes .

Babafemi said NDLEA commands across the country intensified their War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) advocacy lectures.

Meanwhile, the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd), while commending the officers and men of the MMIA, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Ondo, and Imo commands of the agency for their balanced efforts in the past week, also praised their counterparts across the country for intensifying their WADA advocacy lectures, thereby creating parity between their drug supply and drug demand reduction efforts.

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CRIME

NDLEA Incinerates 304,436kg, 40,042 Litres of Illicit Drugs Seized in Lagos, Ogun

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Burning of the drugs in Lagos

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) destroyed 304,436 kilogrammes and 40,042 litres of illegal substances seized in parts of Lagos and Ogun states.

Speaking at a brief ceremony in Badagry, Lagos State, the agency’s Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Brig Gen Buba Marwa (Retd), stated that the open destruction of the seized illicit drugs was in accordance with court orders.

Marwa appealed for more public support for ongoing efforts by his agency and other stakeholders to curb the menace of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria.

He stated, “Through a routine exercise and an established process of removing dangerous substances from our society, the public destruction of confiscated illicit drugs is usually conducted at the end of their related cases in court,” and that the exhibits being destroyed were of mixed types, including illicit drugs in solid and liquid states as well as in various classes such as cocaine, heroin, cannabis, and tramadol, among others.

He revealed that the drugs were seized by NDLEA operatives across different formations of the agency in Lagos and Ogun states from January 2022 till date especially at the Lagos seaports, airports, and land borders.

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He said: “To be destroyed here today on the order of the court are solid drugs, weighing 304,436.055 kilogrammes and 40, 042. 621 litres of liquid drugs. The sheer volume of the drug haul speaks volumes about the extent of the nefarious activities of the drug underworld.”

The NDLEA boss expressed appreciation to traditional rulers, heads of security agencies, the clergy, members of NGOs and CSOs as well as other stakeholders who witnessed the ceremony.

He said: “The destruction of these seizures complies with the NDLEA Act, which mandates the Agency to destroy all drug exhibits after prosecution. We want to say that your presence here is a testament to this important occasion. To this end, we appreciate all stakeholders and members of the public for witnessing this exercise.”

Marwa used the opportunity to thank the agency’s local and international partners, particularly the American Drug Enforcement Administration (US-DEA), the United Kingdom NCA, Border Force, the Germans, the French, and the Indian NCB, among others, who had collaborated with the agency on a number of busts.

He said: “Similarly, we appreciate the Nigerian military and other law enforcement agencies such as the Customs; Immigration; Police; Civil Defence; FRSC; NFIU,NAFDAC and others that have been supporting our efforts to rid Nigeria of illicit drugs.”

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He assured them that NDLEA will not relent in its effort to end the drug scourge in the country, while calling for more public support for the activities of the agency.

He acknowledged that: “The safety of our society is the responsibility of every one of us. Every citizen shall be fulfilling his or her civic duty by assisting the Agency’s War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) campaign to clean up our communities and cities. Together, we can make this country secure.”

Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu represented by Chairman, Badagry West Local Government, Mr. Olusegun Onilude expressed satisfaction with the efforts of NDLEA to tackle the scourge of illicit drugs in the country.

He said: “Almost all crimes and criminalities are fueled by illicit drugs, so the Lagos state government appreciates NDLEA and its leadership in their resolute fight against illicit drugs. The volume of illicit drugs being destroyed here today speak volume and every right-thinking person should be worried.”

 

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With 50,901 Arrests, 9,034 Convictions, We Have Sent A Message To Drug Cartels, Says Marwa

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At the event

Brig Gen Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), stated that the arrest of 50,901 drug offenders, including 46 barons, and the successful prosecution and conviction of 9,034 of them, as well as the seizure of over 7,561 tonnes of illicit substances in the last 38 months, has sent the right message to drug cartels and their kingpins that Nigeria will not tolerate their criminal activities.

Marwa stated this in Lagos on Monday during the commissioning and handover ceremony for an operational facility built and donated to the NDLEA by the British government.

He praised the British government for its generous support, noting that it would strengthen the anti-narcotics agency’s ability to combat the menace of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria.

He stated: “We are here not only to commission a new building complex but also to commemorate a significant milestone in our ongoing fight against the scourge of licit and illicit drug trafficking. Today, we dedicate the newly acquired building, made possible by the generous support of the British government.

“I must begin by expressing our heartfelt appreciation to the British government for their unwavering support and invaluable contributions to our cause. Since the beginning of our collaboration, the United Kingdom has been a staunch ally in our relentless pursuit of transnational organised criminal activities, particularly in the realm of illicit drug production and trafficking.

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“This building complex is more than just a physical structure; it is also a symbol of our two countries’ long-standing partnership in the global fight against drug trafficking. It represents the culmination of years of collaboration, mutual trust, and shared determination to combat one of our society’s most serious threats.

“The magnitude of this project cannot be overstated. It will be a critical hub for data analysis and strategic planning as we work to disrupt drug trafficking networks and apprehend those responsible. With cutting-edge facilities and technology at our disposal, we are better positioned than ever to face this complex and ever-changing challenge.

“But, beyond the bricks and mortar, this building complex embodies the spirit of collaboration and solidarity that characterises our partnership with the British Government. It demonstrates what can be accomplished when nations work together with a common goal and commitment to making the world a safer place for all.

“As an agency, NDLEA has undergone a tremendous transformation, aided by partners such as the United Kingdom. Our operations have undergone significant reforms, resulting in outstanding achievements over the last three years.

“During this time, the NDLEA made significant strides in its mission to combat drug trafficking and abuse. With a total of 50,901 arrests, including the capture of 46 drug barons, our agency has demonstrated its unwavering dedication to bringing those involved in illegal drug activities to justice.

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“Additionally, the conviction of 9,034 offenders demonstrates our unwavering pursuit of accountability and deterrence in the fight against drug-related crime.

“Our seizure of 7,560,748.5 kilogrammes (7,561 tonnes) not only disrupts the flow of illegal drugs but also delivers a significant blow to the criminal networks that distribute them. We have taken decisive action against illegal drug crop cultivation through our search-and-destroy campaign against cannabis plantations, which has resulted in the destruction of 1,057.33348 hectares of cannabis farms in the last three years.”

Marwa, while acknowledging British government officials who facilitated the project’s completion, particularly Mr Dave Carter, called for the strengthening of Nigeria-UK relations. “As we enter a new chapter in our partnership, let us reaffirm our shared commitment to stepping up the fight against drug trafficking and organised crime. Let us continue to collaborate across borders and boundaries to disrupt criminal networks, intercept illegal drugs, and prosecute those who profit from the illicit drug trade.”

He stated that, while much has been accomplished during his leadership of the agency, the fight against illicit drugs is far from over. “Let us redouble our efforts with renewed vigour and determination as we work to create a safer, more secure future for future generations,” he urged.

During the ceremony, Jonny Baxter, British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, expressed his continued support for the NDLEA and Nigeria. According to him, “We, the UK government, are delighted to have this long-standing relationship with the NDLEA, and I am especially delighted to have personally participated in several activities, particularly your maritime. This structure creates a diverse set of actors and capabilities to address any criminal activity.

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“We are delighted to continue our support for the NDLEA and the Nigerian government as they address what is sadly a global industry that requires a global response. I would like to join the chairman in expressing our continued support, cooperation, and, indeed, pride in working with the ladies and gentlemen of this agency, the NDLEA.”

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