* Italy-based Nigerian excretes 95 pellets of heroin at Abuja airport
Michael Olugbode in Abuja
The wanted drug kingpin behind the 2,000.6 kilogrammes cannabis sativa seized in a concrete mixer truck in Adamawa State last December, Henry Okamaru (a.k.a. Lawrence Ik Okamaru), has been arrested in Ondo State after five months of manhunt by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
Two suspects — Matthew Donuwe and Friday Nmborgwu — were arrested in connection with the consignment last December, and had confessed that the concrete mixer truck with Lagos registration number SMK 890 XB was loaded with the illicit drug in Ogbese, Ondo State, while they travelled for two months on the road before arriving Adamawa where they were eventually arrested by NDLEA operatives.
A statement on Sunday by the spokesman of the NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, said investigations have revealed that Okamaru is one of the leaders of a cannabis cultivation cartel that operates in the Ondo-Ekiti axis, and shuttles between Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, Edo and Delta States from where he coordinates supplies of illicit consignments to the northern part of the country and Lagos State.
According to Babafemi, the drug lord has also been identified as a member of an international drug trafficking ring, and shuttles between Nigeria and South Africa where he settles his family.
He has a strong control and stake in cannabis cultivation in Ondo, Edo, Ekiti, Osun and Oyo States with large storage facilities in Lagos and Abbi in Delta State from where his consignments are distributed all year round.
Also, a 36-year-old Nigerian based in Italy, Nwakanma Uche, has been arrested at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja for ingesting pellets of heroin.
Nwakanma was nabbed while trying to board Air France Airline enroute Abuja-Paris-Milan, Italy on Sunday, May 15, 2022. He was thereafter kept under observation, while he excreted 95 pellets of the illicit drug.
He claimed he came to see his parents in Nigeria after 12 years in Italy and to complete his father’s traditional marriage rites, adding that he was to be paid N1.5 million after a successful delivery of the drugs in Milan.
Babafemi said across five states of Edo, Kaduna, Kogi, Akwa Ibom and Oyo, NDLEA operatives intensified their offensive action against drug cartels.
In Edo, a pharmacy along Sapele Road, Benin, was raided last Friday following intelligence and prolonged surveillance, the owner of the store, Thaddeus Uliagbafusi, 58, was arrested while a total of 130,670 tablets of different controlled drugs, 1,396 ampoules of pentazocine injection and 743 bottles of codeine were recovered from a secret location where the drugs are repackaged.
Babafemi said this followed a similar raid of a drug joint operated by Mrs. Christianah Gabriel, 53, at Uromi, Esan North East LGA, Edo State, who was arrested with 25 kilogrammes of cannabis.
According to him, 15,000 ampoules of pentazocine injection were seized by operatives in Kaduna along Abuja-Kaduna express road, 12,500 tablets of Diazepam were intercepted along Okene-Abuja highway on Thursday 26th May.
The drug exhibits were found inside a truck conveying motor spare parts from Onitsha, Anambra State to Kaduna.
In Akwa Ibom, a female drug dealer, Irene Bassey, was arrested last Saturday, during a search of her house at Ikpa town, Esit Eket LGA where 30.5 kilogrammes of cannabis was recovered, while one Muideen Rasaki was nabbed with 90.8 kilogrammes of cannabis at Elere, Boluwaji area of Ibadan South-East LGA.
Meanwhile, while commending the officers and men of the Directorate of Intelligence, NAIA, Edo, Kaduna, Kogi, Akwa Ibom and Oyo State Commands of the agency for the series of arrests and seizures in the past week, the Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd), charged them and their compatriots across the country not to relent in their offensive action against drug cartels and their kingpins.