By Uche Ogbonnaya
On their continuous onslaught against peddlers of dangerous drugs, operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, have intercepted a consignment of 26.150 kilograms of heroin with a street value of over N6.5 billion at the SAHCO shed of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos.
The illicit drug had arrived Lagos in 25 parcels from South Africa through an Airpeace Airline flight on 30th June, 2021 and was detained for screening following reasonable suspicion of the content of the consignment.
A follow up operation was subsequently carried out the following day, 1st July when narcotic officers of the MMIA command trailed the driver and a clearing agent that were assigned to deliver the consignment to the house of a baron, Tony Chidi Onwurolu at No. 132 Lateef Adegboyega Street, off Ago palace way by Grandmate bus stop, Okota, Lagos.
During the follow up operation, Tony Chidi Onwurolu who obviously mounted a counter-surveillance around his neighbourhood fled his home before the arrival of the team of operatives who stormed his residence. They were however able to search his home and recovered a number of documents to establish his true identity.
Following the development, the Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) has directed that the fleeing drug baron, Tony Chidi Onwurolu be declared wanted immediately and his details submitted to Interpol for tracking across the world. He therefore directed the Agencys Directorate of Assets and Financial Investigations as well as the Directorate of Intelligence to deploy their networks to fast track the arrest of Onwurolu.
Marwa said in view of the volume of heroin brought into country by the fleeing baron, the Agency would deploy all available mechanisms, locally and internationally, to track him and bring him to face charges in the law court. Those who have been on the run for 10 years and some for five years, we have since tracked them and are now facing charges while cooling their heels behind bars. The latest one wont be an exception, because he can only run but cant hide for too long before we get him, Marwa vowed.
In the same vein, operatives of the Command also intercepted a 4.3kg of skunk imported from Canada. The package, which came on Ethiopian Airline, was concealed in nine packs of cereals.
Also on 9th July, one Babatunde Usman Omogbolahan Bakare was intercepted by NDLEA operatives with 550 grams of cannabis and 50 grams of Rohypnol (Flunitrazepam) concealed in six jerry cans of local herbal mixtures called Gabo at SAHCO export shed, MMIA, Ikeja. The drug was detected during outward clearance of Cargo going to Dubai.
Earlier on Tuesday 6th July, operatives of the MMIA Command, conducted a follow-up operation at Gate 2, Ladipo Oluwole Street, opposite Guinness Bottling Company, Ikeja, where one Animashaun Kabiru was apprehended for questioning about a bag containing bitter cola, which was brought for export to the UK. When the bag of bitter kola was searched, it was discovered that the bitter kola were mixed with some wraps of a substance suspected to be illicit drug. Thirty-six wraps of the suspected substance later tested positive for Cocaine weighing 600grams.
In a related development, an Uber driver, Lawal Tunde Rasheed, arrested on 8th June in connection with the seizure of a cocaine consignment has been let off the hook following his cooperation that led to the arrest of the real owner of the drug, Mr. Egbo Emmanuel Maduka, who in his statement accepted ownership of the consignment and absolved Lawal of any complicity.
While commending officers and men of the MMIA Command of the Agency for the series of seizures and arrests in the past week, Gen. Marwa asked them not to rest on their oars, adding that we must all remain fully prepared and proactive at all times if we have to battle this scourge to a standstill.
Director, Media & Advocacy
NDLEA Headquarters, Abuja signed the statement released to the press yesterday.