Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, at the weekend smashed a major cocaine syndicate in Lagos following the arrest of a 56-year-old trafficker, Lawal Lateef Oyenuga.
Oyenuga was on a mission to deliver 400 grams of the class “A” drug concealed in a pair of palm sandals in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, said the swift follow-up led to the arrest of a wanted notorious kingpin, Wasiu Sanni Gbolahan, popularly known as “Teacher,” who recruits mules for the cartel.
According to him, “NDLEA operatives attached to the screening point of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, had on Thursday, November 24, intercepted Lawal Lateef Oyenuga with a pair of black palm sandals packed in the luggage he was going with to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, via Addis Ababa on an Ethiopian Airways flight.”
“A thorough examination of the sandals revealed they were used to conceal two parcels of cocaine weighing 400 grams
“This is barely a week after a 56-year-old widow and mother of four, Mrs. Ajisegiri Kehinde Sidika, was arrested at the airport over her attempt to traffic 400 grams of cocaine concealed in her footwear to Makkah, Saudi Arabia, on board a Qatar Airways flight.”
In his statement, Oyenuga claimed he was recruited to traffic the drug by Wasiu Sanni Gbolahan, popularly known as “Teacher,” adding that he was first given some pellets of cocaine to swallow, but when he couldn’t do that, then he was given the ones concealed in the palm sandals.
He said he resorted to the criminal trade to raise money to pay an examination fee for his daughter, who is in senior secondary school class 3.
The Agency’s database reveals Wasiu Sanni (the teacher) has been linked to some previous attempts to traffic cocaine to Saudi Arabia and Dubai, UAE.
He was earlier named as the one who recruited a BRT driver, Bolajoko Muyiwa Babalola, for Lagos socialite and owner of Adekaz Hotels, Alhaji Ademola Afolabi Kazeem (a.k.a. Alhaji Abdallah Kazeem Muhammed), to traffic drugs to Dubai.
Bolajoko was arrested on 27th June while taking 900 grams of cocaine to Dubai, while Ademola Kazeem was nabbed on Thursday 10th November, barely 10 days after he was declared wanted by NDLEA.
A follow-up operation in the early hours of Friday, November 25 led to the arrest of the kingpin, Teacher, who specializes in recruiting mules for drug barons in Lagos and its environs, at his residence located in the Ikorodu area of Lagos.
The 64-year-old Wasiu Sanni Gbolahan is a housing and property agent with seven children and four wives, one of whom is now late.
In another follow up operation to the seizure of 1.10kg cannabis concealed in bottles of body cream going to Dubai on 9th September, the actual owner of the consignment, Wordu Hopewell Chukwuemeka who runs a boutique business in Port Harcourt, Rivers state was arrested in the Garden City on Thursday 24th Nov.
In the same vein, operatives attached to the NAHCO import shed at the Lagos airport on Tuesday, November 22, intercepted a consolidated cargo shipment from Johannesburg, South Africa, via an Air Peace Airlines flight.
The cargo contained different items, including cloths, cereals, baby toys, drinks, and a set of two big black speakers, which were used to conceal 25 parcels of Loud variant of cannabis, with a gross weight of 5.5kg
Similarly, operatives attached to the SAHCO export shed of the airport on Tuesday intercepted a carton of food items used to conceal 500 grams of cannabis going to Dubai, UAE, while the owner, Uzoma Kingsley, was promptly arrested.
In a related development, an attempt by an organized criminal group to traffic 131 kg of ephedrine, a dominant precursor chemical for the production of methamphetamine, to Congo-Kinshasa through the SAHCO export shed of the airport was foiled on Monday, November 21st, by NDLEA operatives in conjunction with Aviation Security (AVSEC) officers of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
Two freight agents: Nwazuru Georgewill and Saheed Muritala linked to the bid were promptly arrested.
Meanwhile, an attempt by a drug trafficker, Udogwu James Johnson, facing multiple charges of drug offenses, to flee the country after he jumped bail has been thwarted by NDLEA operatives at the Port Harcourt International Airport, where he was arrested on Friday, November 25.
The 51-year-old suspect was already facing trial at a Federal High Court in Lagos before he was arrested again on Saturday, April 9, in Port Harcourt for importing 5.48kg of cocaine concealed in lotion plastic bottles sealed with candle wax.
He was granted bail by a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, November 23, over his latest offense, while the Lagos court had issued a warrant of arrest against him for jumping bail over his case in Lagos.
At the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, NAIA, Abuja, the move by a Brazilian returnee, Iroegbute Ejike Francis, 46, to smuggle 4 kg of cocaine soaked in towels stuffed in his hand luggage into the country was foiled on Thursday, November 24 by NDLEA officers, who arrested him upon his arrival on a Qatar Airline flight from Brazil to Doha and Abuja.
No fewer than 5,851.3 kilograms (5.8 tons) of cannabis sativa were seized from dealers across five states in the past week, including a notorious cripple, Ibrahim Yusuf, 45, who was arrested on Nov. 21 at Gasline, Ifo, Ogun State, with 4kg of the psychotropic substance, while a total of 36 bags weighing 570kg of the same substance were recovered in another raid at a forest in Ogunmakin town, Obafemi Owode Local Government, Oba
In Edo, operatives on Tuesday, November 22, evacuated 141 bags of Cannabis sativa with a gross weight of 1,884 kg (1.884 tons) stored in a warehouse in Okpe Forest, Akoko Edo LGA, while on Thursday, November 24, NDLEA officers arrested Ismaila Abubakar, 50, at Okada Junction, Ovia South West LGA, with 22 bags of C/S weighing 216.5 kg.
A day later, operatives also seized 112 bags of C/S stored in Obi Camp forest, Ovia South West LGA, weighing 1,512 kg.
This was also followed by another seizure of 45 bags that weighed 529.5 kg, while officers equally intercepted a Toyota Sienna bus with registration number BDG 598 FZ (Lagos) loaded with 566.5 kg of cannabis going to Onitsha, Anambra State, and arrested a suspect, Sunday Mathias, 30.
In Ondo state, NDLEA operatives stormed Oke-Ogun forest on Friday, November 25, where Onyebuchi Chime was arrested with 88 kg of cannabis, a gun, and some ammunition, while they also recovered 149.5 kg of the substance at Ipele forest.
Not less than 12.42 hectares of cannabis farms were destroyed and 195kg processed weeds of the substance recovered at Efon Alaye, Ekiti state where two dealers: Richard Ebong and Nze Abraham were arrested on Saturday 26th Nov.
In Oyo state, operatives arrested a 27-year-old woman, Mrs. Adebayo Rahmat, on Thursday, November 24, at Sabo-Ilupeju, Atiba LGA, with 136.3kg of cannabis, while no fewer than 84,000 pills of Tramadol tablets were recovered from a suspect, Muhsin Abdullahi, in the Bodinga area of Sokoto state the same day.
In the same vein, 16,000 pills of Exol-5 and D5 concealed in palm oil were seized from Lawal Rabe, 24, on Friday 25th Nov at Kokami village, Danta LGA, Katsina while a total of 54,500 tablets of Tramadol and Exol-5 were seized from the duo of Basiru Muhammadu and Saidu Yusuf in the same area on Saturday 26th Nov.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), commended the officers and men of the MMIA, NAIA, PHIA, Edo, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo, Sokoto, Katsina, and Oyo commands of the agency for their professionalism in the discharge of their duties and the remarkable results that followed.
He enjoined them and their compatriots across the country not to let down their guards as the nation approaches the festive season.