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CRIME

Two Notorious Drug Kingpins Sentenced To Life Imprisonment Over Cocaine Trafficking

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SuspectUwaezuoke Ikenna and Agbo Chidike, two well-known drug kingpins, have been sentenced to life in prison for drug trafficking.

According to Femi Babafemi, spokesman for the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the two criminals will now spend the rest of their lives in prison, “putting an end to their years of criminal enterprise of exporting cocaine across continents following their arrest and diligent prosecution by NDLEA.”

Babafemi stated that 43-year-old businessman Uwaezuoke, his journey to a lifetime in prison began when he was arrested by NDLEA operatives on March 19, 2022, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja during the inward clearance of an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, after he was found to have ingested 100 big wraps of cocaine weighing 2.243 kilogrammes.

Uwaezuoke was then arraigned at the Federal High Court, Abuja Division in charge number FHC/ABJ/CR/438/2022 and granted bail on certain conditions after pleading not guilty. He later fled, prompting the court to revoke his bail and issue an arrest warrant against him.

“In a strange twist, Uwaezuoke was arrested again by NDLEA operatives on August 1, 2023, at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos while attempting to export 1.822 kilogrammes of cocaine to India via ingestion using a different passport and a different name, Ilonzeh Onyebuchi.

“He was arraigned again before Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court, Lagos Division, on charge number FHC/L/554C/2023. On October 18, 2023, he was sentenced to seven years in prison or a fine of ₦1,500,000.00 after pleading guilty to two counts. After paying the fine, he was transferred to Abuja to face the pending importation case.

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“He was re-arraigned on March 20, 2024, at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court in charge number FHC/ABJ/CR/438/2022 before Justice Joyce Obehi Abdulmalik, where he pleaded guilty again. Despite his plea, the court convicted and sentenced him to life in prison, citing his lack of remorse, the seriousness of his drug-related offences, and the fact that he was a repeat offender.
Agbo Chidike Prince, 42, was arrested at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on October 21, 2023, during the outward clearance of an Ethiopian Airlines flight to Hong Kong for ingesting 49 wraps of cocaine weighing 998.73 grammes.

“During his arraignment before Justice Joyce Obehi Abdulmalik of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division, the defendant pleaded guilty to the one-count charge, prompting the prosecution to present evidence and review the facts of the case.”
Despite the defendant’s counsel’s allocated plea, the court, taking into account the nature of the case and the commercial quantity of the drug, emphasised the gravity of drug-related offences and convicted and sentenced the defendant to life imprisonment on April 15, 2024.”

Meanwhile, NDLEA officers at the Lagos airport’s Gate C Departure Hall arrested a passenger, Yahaya Oturah, last Friday while attempting to export 4,000 tramadol 225mg pills to Malpensa, Italy on an Ethiopian Airlines flight.

The psychoactive substance was discovered concealed in women’s clothing, as well as granulated melon packed in the suspect’s backpack and another bag containing food. In his statement, Oturah, a frequent flyer, admitted that he was hired to courier the drug for 700 Euros upon successful delivery in Italy.

Last Wednesday, NDLEA agents arrested 28-year-old Jennifer Iliya in the Amarata area of Yenagoa for manufacturing and distributing cakes laced with illegal drugs, particularly cannabis sativa. A significant number of drugged cakes weighing 1.5 kilogrammes were recovered from her during her arrest. On Sunday, March 10th, NDLEA operatives arrested a 20-year-old hair stylist, Josephine Odunu, and a dispatch rider, Edesemi Ikporo, 30, in Yenagoa for a similar offence.

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Two suspects, Joseph Dadik, 47, and Bensha Yari, 32, were arrested with 24,180 ampoules of pentazocine injection weighing 135.5 kilogrammes in Sabon Tasha, Kaduna, while Adamu Umar, 18, was apprehended with 20.7 kilogrammes cannabis when his house in the Shuware area of Mubi, Adamawa state, was raided on Friday, April 26th.

In another incident, 310.7 kilogrammes of cannabis were discovered last Thursday when NDLEA agents raided parts of Mushin in Lagos state. While 300 kilogrammes were seized at Olatunji Street, Mushin, 10.7 kilogrammes of the same substance were recovered from two suspects: Tijani Wasiu & Suleiman Aisha
at Anifowose in Mushin.

Stanley Chukwudi, 43, was arrested with 5,900 ampoules of pentazocine injection in the Sabon Gari area of Kano State last Thursday, and Fredrick Odion, 53, and Gladys Odion, 52, were apprehended with 50 kilogrammes of cannabis in Iruekpen, Esan West local government area, Edo state, last Wednesday.

Babafemi stated that the agency’s various commands across the country have continued the War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) advocacy campaign with the same zeal in the last week.

Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd), Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the NDLEA, praised the officers and men of the Agency’s Directorate of Prosecution and Legal Services for their diligent prosecution of the Uwazuoke and Agbo cases, saying the success rate of cases prosecuted by the agency has shown that there is no escape route for those involved in the illicit trade of drug trafficking.

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He also commended the MMIA, Lagos, Kaduna, Kano, Edo, Adamawa, and Bayelsa Commands, as well as their counterparts in all commands across the country, for stepping up their drug supply and demand reduction efforts.

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CRIME

Police Nab Security Guard For Allegedly Stabbing Teenage Boy To Death

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By Chuks Eke*

A security guard attached to St. Alphonsus Catholic Church parish, Nkpor Uno in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra state is now cooling off at Ogidi Police station for allegedly stabbing a teenage ex-student of the parish secondary school to death with a dagger.

The guard simply identified as David Isaac, an indigene of Kogi state under the employ of Diamond Security Company, according to the source, had pierced the dagger through the neck of the victim during a scuffle and before he could be rushed to a nearby Crown hospital, for a medical attention, he bled to death as the authorities confirmed him dead.

According to the source, trouble started when the guard was foot-patrolling around the church premises and he claimed to have seen the victim having sexual intercourse with his girlfriend inside the Church Chapel at about 8 p.m. on that fateful day.

The source further stated that when the guard queried the teenage boy as to why he was allegedly having intercourse inside a holy place like a Chapel, the victim denied having sex with the girl but insisted that he was only praying with the girl and not having sex.

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When the guard insisted that he saw them having the sex, the victim allegedly flayed up and engaged him in a hot argument which nearly ended up in a fisticuff between the duo and it was at this point that the guard applied his dagger on the victim.

The Parish Priest of St Alphonsus Catholic Church, Rev. Fr. Peter Okoli could not be reached when newsmen visited the church premises to ascertain what was Ami’s but a top official of the parish who pleaded anonymity, confirmed that the suspect had been handed over to the police for further investigations, adding that the church has beefed up security within the premises since the incident occurred because friends and relations of the victim were threatening to burn down the premises in a protest.

The Divisional Police Officer, DPO at Ogidi Police Division, Frank Amobi, CSP, simply confirmed the incident and explained that the suspect was in their custody, declined further details and referred newsmen to the state police spokesman.

The state police spokesman, SP Ikenga told newsmen on the phone yesterday that he was yet to get the detailed report of the incident, even as he promised to make the report available as soon as it is ready.

 

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CRIME

Marwa Insists Drug Law Enforcement Must Keep Up With Dynamics Of Crime

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Marwa

Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd), Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the NDLEA, has stated that the illicit drug landscape was rapidly changing, and modern drug law enforcement needed to keep up with the dynamic.

He delivered the verdict at a journalist training session organised by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to increase the fight against drug trafficking and wildlife crimes in Nigeria.

Marwa stated that the media, as a critical partner, must be well-informed about these shifting trends.

Marwa stated at the training, which was organised by the two agencies in collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation, that “there have been recent calls for training of journalists in various activities aimed at combating the abuse and trafficking of illicit substances.

“This also implies that such training should not only strengthen the capacity of anti-drug organisations. It should also reform its systems and processes, instilling the essence of best practices.

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He stated: “At NDLEA, we yearn for training, and UNODC has been forthcoming, providing various capacity development training over the last three years.”

While emphasising the importance of journalists understanding key issues of public impact and reporting them in the proper context for data interpretation, UNODC Country Representative Oliver Stolpe stated that data is critical to understanding the prevalence and frequency of scientific issues of concern.

Stolpe, while lamenting the impact of organised wildlife crime, said, “I would like to draw your attention to a much less cited study on cannabis cultivation in Nigeria. It covered six states, was published about two years ago, and established, among other things, that there is a direct link between deforestation and drug cultivation.

“We need to improve our reporting on wildlife and forest crime. I am very pleased to see so much interest in the subject.

“This is a critical issue for Nigeria. It is a much larger challenge than I believe we were aware of, even a few years ago when no one was talking about wildlife and forest crime.

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Stolpe stated that UNODC’s primary collaboration with the media has been to ensure effective information dissemination through meaningful press releases, interviews, and other media events.

He stated, “We have always made it clear that we distinguish between drug trafficking crimes and the issue of drug use, which we consider to be primarily a health issue and should be addressed as such.

“Addiction is a medical condition; it is not an option. As a result, people who are addicted to drugs may have them.

“They should be treated primarily as patients, with access to the treatment and counselling services they require to overcome their respective drug use condition,” he stated.

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CRIME

Why NDLEA Hunts A Couple After Arresting 4 Cartel Members Over Cocaine Seizures

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NDLEA operatives

Wanted couple

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has explained why it declared a couple, Kazeem Omogoriola Owoalade (alias Abdul Qassim Adisa Balogun) and Rashidat Ayinke Owoalade (alias Bolarinwa Rashidat Ayinke), wanted.

According to a statement issued on Sunday by the anti-narcotics agency’s spokesman, Femi Babafemi, the married couple was declared wanted following the arrest of four members of their syndicate in Lagos, where a Sports Utility Vehicle was recovered and two houses traced to them were sealed for forfeiture to the Federal Government.

According to Babafemi, two members of the syndicate, Imran Olalekan and Ishola Olalekan, were arrested on April 3, 2024, after attempting to export 3.4 kilogrammes of cocaine on a Qatar Airlines flight to Oman via Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.

He claimed that while Imran was the courier transporting the drug consignment to Oman, Ishola recruited him for the cartel’s leader, Alhaji Kazeem Omogoriola Owoalade, whose Indian residence permit bears the name Abdul Qassim Adisa Balogun who is based in India.

He revealed that efforts to dismantle his network in Nigeria paid off after five weeks of surveillance and follow-up operations, when another member of the syndicate, Hamed Saheed, who works directly with the baron, was apprehended last Tuesday in Lagos’ Abule Egba area. He went on to say that it was Saheed who put Imran in a hotel the day before his aborted trip to Oman and dropped him and Ishola off at the Lagos airport the day they were arrested.

He revealed that during a search of Saheed’s home, NDLEA agents discovered 900 grammes of phenacetine, a cocaine-cutting agent. He admitted that the recovered substance was the remainder of Imran’s consignment to Oman on the day he was arrested.

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Saeed’s arrest prompted a follow-up operation at the Owoalade couple’s home at 20 Eyiaro Street, Ogudu Orioke, Lagos, where another suspect was arrested and a new model Toyota RAV4 SUV marked FKJ-773 JJ belonging to Rashidat and an additional 400 grammes of cocaine were recovered, in addition to already prepared suitcases to be used for illicit drug concealment, digital weighing scales, and other paraphernalia;

He added that last Wednesday, NDLEA officers from the Directorate of Operations and General Investigations (DOGI) attached to a courier firm in Lagos intercepted two parcels containing cocaine and amphetamine concealed in steel bolts and shea butter. While the cocaine weighed 587 grammes and was concealed in eight steel bolt screws going to China, the amphetamine
A shipment packed in vape pens and hidden in shea butter was destined for the United Kingdom.

He said that Emeka Nwadiaro (a.k.a Mega) attempted to export 3.6 kilogrammes. Loud, a strain of cannabis concealed in 36 water flasks bound for Dubai, UAE, was also intercepted at a logistics company in Port Harcourt, Rivers state last Thursday, while a quick follow-up operation resulted in the arrest of the consignment’s owner, Emeka Nwadiaro, in Onitsha, Anambra state the same day.

He stated that NDLEA agents in Lagos intercepted a Mercedes Benz bus loaded with 840 kilogrammes of cannabis and arrested the driver, Samuel Henry, in Olojo, Ojo LGA, Lagos. Another suspect, Lawal Adam, was apprehended last Friday along Otukpo road, Aliade, Benue state, with 75,000 opioid pills, including tramadol and exol-5. Olisa Etisi, 32, and Jonathan Umeh, 25, were arrested on the Owerri-Onitsha road in Imo state after NDLEA agents discovered a large gas cylinder used to conceal six blocks of Loud, a strain of cannabis weighing 3.85 kilogrammes.

In Borno state, 70-year-old Adamu Mohammed was arrested last Thursday at Mbulamel, Biu local government area, with 2 kilogrammes of cannabis and 33.55 grammes of diazepam, while 27-year-old Gaddafi Sani was arrested with 30 kilogrammes of cannabis along the Abuja-Kaduna road in Kaduna.

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In Yobe state, NDLEA officers discovered a consignment of 91.1 kilogrammes of opioids and 13 kilogrammes of cannabis on the Potiskum-Damaturu road and arrested the driver, Ismaila Ali.

He stated that four suspects were arrested in connection with the seizure of 2,025 pieces of improvised explosive devices (IED) materials intercepted by NDLEA officers on the Agaie-Lapai road in Niger state. While Abdulrauf Adeyemi, 46, and Asmiyu Rahim, 45, who were transporting the IED materials, were apprehended on the spot, follow-up operations resulted in the arrests of Husaini Abdullahi, 25, at Sokoto main market, Sokoto, and Nazifi Abdullahi, 37, at Naibawa Motor Park, Kano, last Friday.

Meanwhile, Brig Gen Buba Marwa (Retd), Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, has ordered that all four suspects and the explosive materials be transferred to the appropriate security agency for further investigation. Muhammad Lawal, 42, was arrested at Central Market Motor Park in Katsina State with 1,000 ampoules of pentazocine injection.

Last Friday, NDLEA officers raided a house in the Obola community, Owan West local government area, Edo state, and recovered 105 kilogrammes of cannabis. A suspect, Gloria Oris, was arrested. Two suspects in Kwara state, Abdulganiyu Karaman, 55, and Sunday Abel, 37, were arrested on Saturday, May 18th, with 83 kilogrammes of cannabis and tramadol in Boriya, Baruten local government area, and Offa, respectively.

He noted that the various Agency commands across the country continued the War Against Drug Abuse, or WADA, advocacy campaign with the same vigour in the previous week.

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While congratulating the officers and men of the MMIA, Rivers, Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Yobe, Borno, Niger, Benue, Kwara, Imo, and Edo Commands of the Agency, as well as those of DOGI, on their outstanding feats in the past week, NDLEA Chairman/Chief Executive Officer Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd) stated that the efforts have further affirmed the NDLEA’s central role in the country’s security architecture. He also praised their counterparts in all commands across the country for stepping up their WADA advocacy lectures to strike a balance between drug supply and demand reduction activities.

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