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NDLEA seizes 44,948kg drugs, vehicles in Lagos, Edo, Ondo raids

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NDLEA seizes 44,948kg drugs, vehicles in Lagos, Edo, Ondo raids

Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency have seized over 44,948.1kg of illicit drugs and arrested eight suspects in multiple raids across Lagos, Edo and Ondo states.

The anti-narcotics agency also seized 11 vehicles owned by the drug cartels.

This was revealed by the agency’s Director, Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, in a statement on Sunday.

The statement noted that “no less than 14,310.8625 kg of psychoactive substance was razed on 5.7 hectares of farms in Ohosu/Ugbogui forest, Ovia South West Local Government Area, Edo State on Tuesday, March 19.”

Five suspects including 67-year-old Sunday Otulugbu; Agbayeogor Joshua, 39; Kelvin Ofuasia,45; Williams Peter, 37; and Kamaru Onimisi, 44, were arrested.

It added that 7, 687.8kg of cannabis was destroyed in a warehouse in Ala forest, Akure, Ondo State with another 670kg evacuated, on Saturday, March 23.

The statement read in parts, “In another operation in Uzebba/Avbiosi forest on Thursday, March 21, over 6,500kg cannabis was destroyed on 2.6 hectares of farms where three suspects: Kabiru Idris, 36;

“Alaba Jimoh, 40; and Lekan Asobere, 35, were arrested. In the same vein, 5,000kg of same substance was razed in a warehouse in Okpuje forest, Owan West LGA by NDLEA operatives with support from the military on Friday 22nd March.”

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The agency stated that in a well-coordinated operation on Wednesday, March 20, in Lagos State, its operatives seized “10,534 kg (10.534 tonnes) of Ghanaian Loud, a strain of cannabis in Ajah area of the state where 11 vehicles were seized from the drug cartel.

“The recovered vehicles include: Iveco truck marked KRD 522 YE; Toyota sienna marked AAA 338 GL; Toyota sienna marked AAA 308 EP; Toyota Sienna marked FKJ 381 JC; Nissan bus marked EKY 846 YG; Mercedes bus marked EPE 743 XT; an unmarked Iveco J5 bus; Toyota sienna marked LSD 744 GP; Toyota highlander SUV marked KTU 280 FN; Toyota sienna marked AAA 333 GH and Toyota sienna marked FKJ 208 HV.”

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Babafemi noted that “in another raid at Ago Palace way area of the state on Friday  March 22, a suspect, Miracle Obi, was arrested with 1,006 ampoules of pentazocine injection; 50 tablets of tramadol 225mg; 89 bottles of codeine syrup and 2,360 ampoules of Diazepam injection. Another suspect, Kareem Mustapha was earlier on Tuesday,  March 19, nabbed along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway with 25,000 pills of tramadol and 5,900 ampoules of pentazocine injection.

“While 58kg cannabis was recovered at Jagindi village, Kafanchan LGA, Kaduna State on Friday, March 22, Abdulqadir Muhammad, 34, was arrested with 45 kilogrammes of same substance by NDLEA operatives along Kaduna- Zaria Expressway.

“In Borno State, Salisu Yusuf, 20, was nabbed with 30kg Arizona, a strain of cannabis at the Njimtilo checkpoint on Saturday 23rd March, while another suspect, Rabiu Husseini, 27, was arrested with 34kg cannabis along Gwagwalada/Abuja highway on his way from Lagos to Katsina state on Wednesday 21st March. The following day, 22nd March, NDLEA officers on patrol along Gashua-Baymari road, Busari LGA, Yobe state arrested Haladu Hassan with 160 blocks of cannabis sativa weighing 50kg.”

In Kano State, the agency “successfully dismantled” a syndicate dealing in cocaine and heroin “with the arrest of 42-year-old Onyeka Uba in the Sabon Gari area of Kano where 1.805 kilograms and 7grams of the illicit substances were recovered from him on Monday 18th March. Another suspect, Ubale Sani, 49, was arrested with 51.5kg of cannabis in the Chiromawa area of Kano.

“Operatives of a special operation unit of NDLEA also disrupted criminal activities of another cocaine syndicate in Abuja at the weekend with the arrest of three leaders of the group. While Nnajiofor Celestine Kenechukwu, 41, and Okoro Chigozie Christian, 35, were arrested.”

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The statement further read, “On Friday 22nd March at Paint House Hotel, Umar Garba Benna Street, 21 Road, First Avenue, Gwarimpa Abuja with 718 grams of cocaine, a follow-up operation at the residence of Okoro Chigozie at House 30, 69B Road 6th Avenue Gwarimpa, led to the recovery of 19 blocks of Arizona, a strain of cannabis weighing 9.823kg and monetary exhibits: N545,500 and $250, as well as property documents. Two vehicles: a Toyota Camry 2007 marked BWR 94 BM and a Toyota Camry 2012 marked RBC 154 BS were also recovered from them.

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“Another follow-up operation to the residence of Nnajiofor Celestine Kenechukwu at 49 Mercy Orjiakor Street, Becky Estate 11, Karu, Nasarawa state on Saturday 23rd March also led to the recovery of various quantities of Arizona and methamphetamine while his girlfriend and accomplice, Ifemenam Oge was arrested.”

Babafemi added that “various commands of the agency across the country continued with the War Against Drug Abuse, WADA, advocacy campaign in the past week.”

“While commending the officers and men of the Lagos, Edo, Ondo, Kano, Borno, Kaduna, and FCT Commands as well as the Special Operations unit of the Agency for their outstanding feats in the past week, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (retd.) equally applauded their counterparts in all the commands across the country for intensifying their WADA advocacy lectures in schools, markets, motor parks, worship centres and workplaces,” the statement concluded.

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CBN injects fresh Dollars into BDCs at N1,021/$1

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CBN injects fresh Dollars into BDCs at N1,021/$1
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the sale of $10,000 to each licensed Bureau De Change (BDC) operator nationwide.

This marks the second such intervention this month by the apex bank.

In a circular addressed to the president of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators (ABCON), the CBN outlined the details of the intervention.

BDCs will be able to purchase dollars at the rate of N1,021 per dollar.

They are, therefore, authorized to sell this forex to eligible end users at a maximum spread of 1.5 percent above the purchase price, translating to a maximum selling price of N1,036.15 per dollar.

On the 8th of April 2024, the CBN sold $10,000 FX to each of the 1,588 participating BDCs at a fixed rate of N1101 per US dollar at a spread capped at 1.5 percent above the purchase price from the CBN (approximately N1,116.15 per dollar). This limited the potential profit BDCs could make on each transaction

The latest circular has instructed all eligible BDCs to commence immediate payment of the Naira equivalent for their allocated $10,000 into designated CBN Naira Deposit Accounts.

This deposit must be accompanied by the submission of necessary documentation to facilitate the disbursement of forex at respective CBN branches.

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The latest intervention by the CBN is likely to be met with cautious optimism by market participants. The continued injection of US dollars into the BDC segment aims to improve access to forex for legitimate transactions, potentially alleviating some pressure on the parallel market.

However, the effectiveness of this strategy hinges on several factors: the extent to which the allocated amount meets the current demand for forex remains to be seen; strict adherence to the stipulated maximum selling price by BDCs is crucial for ensuring transparency and preventing market distortions; and while stop-gap measures like these can provide temporary relief, addressing the underlying causes of FX scarcity is essential for achieving long-term market stability.

SEE ALSO:  SERAP sues Akpabio ‘over failure to recall Ningi, refers N3.7trn budget padding to EFCC, ICPC’

The CBN’s recent actions since February 2024 highlight its ongoing efforts to manage forex liquidity and ensure the smooth functioning of the foreign exchange market.

The success of this strategy will depend on continued monitoring, adjustments as needed, and fostering a more market-driven approach to FX allocation in the long run.(NATION)

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JUST IN: Emefiele printed N684.5m with N18.9bn, says EFCC in fresh charge

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JUST IN: Emefiele printed N684.5m with N18.9bn, says EFCC in fresh charge
Emefiele

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has filed a fresh charge at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory against the embattled former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele.

EFCC in the charge accused Emefiele of approving the printing of N684,590,000 at the rate of N18.96 billion.

In the charge sighted by PUNCH Online on Tuesday, EFCC alleged that Emefiele broke the law with intent to harm the public during his implementation of the naira swap policy of the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

The anti-graft agency also accused Emefiele of unlawfully approving the withdrawal of N124.8 billion from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation.

The document dated April 2, 2024, and marked Suit No: CR/264/2024, was filed by EFCC’s top prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN revealed that Emefiele will be arraigned on a new four-count charge before Justice Hamza Muazu bordering on disobeying the law to punish Nigerians, iilegal printing of money, abuse of office, among others.

Counts one to four of the charge, read, “STATEMENT OF OFFENCE: Public Servant disobeying direction of law with intent to cause injury to the public contrary to and punishable under Section 123 of the Penal Code Law, Cap. 89 Laws of the Federation, 1990.

“PARTICULARS OF THE OFFENCE: That you GODWIN IFEANYI EMEFIELE between the 19th day of October 2022 and 5th March 2023 in Abuja, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 19 of the CBN Act, 2007, by approving the printing of N375,520,000.00 pieces of colour swapped N1, 000, at the total cost of N11,052, 068,062 without the recommendation of the Board of Central Bank and the strict approval of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence.”

“COUNT 3: “That you GODWIN IFEANYI EMEFIELE between the 19th day of October 2022 and 5th March 2023 in Abuja, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 19 of the CBN Act, 2007, by approving the printing of 137,070,000 pieces of colour swapped N200 (Two Hundred Naira) Note, at the total cost of N3, 441, 005, 280 without the recommendation of the Board of Central Bank and the strict approval of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence.”

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“COUNT 4: “That you, GODWIN IFEANYI EMEFIELE, on or about the 7th day of October 2020, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 80 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended), by approving the withdrawal of the total sum of N124, 860, 227, 865.16 from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation in a manner not prescribed by the National Assembly, which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence.”

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Recall that Emefiele was on November 18, 2023, arraigned before the court on six counts of procurement fraud, in what is the most high-profile corruption case under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

He was also accused of abusing his office by approving a contract for the acquisition of 43 vehicles totalling N1.2 billion from 2018 to 2020.

On Monday, April 8, 2024, the EFCC arraigned the former banker alongside one Henry Omoile before Justice R.A. Oshodi of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos for an alleged $4.5bn and N2.8bn fraud. (PUNCH)

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Remove ‘Wanted’ from Yahaya Bello’s name – Kogi Assembly tells EFCC

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Remove ‘Wanted’ from Yahaya Bello’s name - Kogi Assembly tells EFCC
• Embattled former Kogi Gov, Yahaya Bello
Kogi House of Assembly has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to vacate the ‘wanted’ tag it placed on the name and picture of the immediate past Governor Yahaya Bello.

This forms part of the resolutions during the House plenary on Tuesday and follows a matter of urgent public importance presented on the floor of the House by the member representing Ajaokuta Constituency, Hon Jibrin Abu.

Their resolutions made available to newsmen on Tuesday read: “The EFCC, IGP, Immigration, NSA and other agencies conscripted into this melodrama be so informed and involved to act accordingly. The Commission should not allow itself to become a tool of political vendetta, blackmail, or intimidation against any individual through personal grudges, persecution, and campaign of calumny to tarnish the image of personalities from Kogi State, especially Alh Yahaya Bello or any perceived political enemy of the characters hiding behind their executive powers to unleash allegations through media for public consumption and sympathy.

“The House condemns in its entirety a statement by legal practitioner suggesting a request that the military be involved in the case that does not constitute a threat to internal security or treasonable felony.”

Earlier in his motion, titled,: “A call to end all false, frivolous, fictitious, and far from the truth smear campaign against the former Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello,” Abu lamented the anti-graft agency had been allegedly witch-hunting the former Governor for a long time.

“The recent reports on the print, electronic and social media had featured various debasing forms of address against the former Governor of Kogi State. Recall that the whole narrative was principally sparked off by the blithe actions, without respect to due legal process by Nigeria’s anti- graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

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“The consequence of this has deeply affected the minds, emotions, and impressions of Kogi citizens, and by extension, Nigerians. Kogi State, over the years, has witnessed a worrisome trend and torrent of witch-hunt by the anti-graft agency, unrepentantly striving to force corruption claims on the State Government and officials.

“This is not forgetting the plight of late Prince Abubakar Audu in the hands of the same agency, albeit, giving his dog a bad name for the kill.

“The Commission started with claims that it discovered a non-existent fund in an alleged Fixed Deposit Account. By its statutory responsibility and while appreciating EFCC’s efforts in the fight against corruption, every right thinking individual would hold it a duty to support it in no small measure to succeed in its primary responsibilities. It is also possible as touted all around for those very wary of certain actions outside legal process by the EFCC to caution against allowing the Commission to become a tool for political vendetta.

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“It is pertinent for House to further note that the new objectives assured by the leadership of EFCC upon assumption of duty and in his fight against crimes and corruption under President Ahmed Bola Tinubu are to fight financial crimes with due diligence and legal process. These objectives are being eroded by certain selfish group of political individuals with access to media and investigations in the commission.

“The 7th Legislative Assembly of Kogi State in August and September 2021 berated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission upon the completion of its investigation over the allegation of N20b Bailout diversion against the former Governor of Kogi State, Alh. Yahaya Bello through a fixed deposit account at Sterling Bank, Lokoja.

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“The EFCC has continued the trajectory of persecuting the former Governor against all known legal decencies and now likened, by most, to personal vendetta. But the question is why?

“A point of reference for the House to take cognizance of is the submission, that having wasted taxpayers’ money, the time of the honourable court and Nigerians, one Kemi Pinheiro SAN, acting on behalf of EFCC and other Legal luminaries, discovered that the case of N20b against the State Government lacked substance and that it was aimed at disrespecting the rule of law. The case was accordingly withdrawn citing 6 reasons. These reasons were in line with findings of 7 Legislative Assembly and for berating the EFCC.

“The Rt. Hon. Speaker, distinguished honourable members, this was not without a fight by the then Governor, revealing to Nigerians the impotent drive
by the Commission and its sudden acceptance of duties not enshrined in the law establishing the same.

“Kogi State, by allocation standard, is not rich so much so that N80.4b will be missing that the State will not be shaken to its foundation. This claim by the EFCC should be sanctioned and taken as laughable. Innocent Nigerians and Kogi State citizens that bought into the lies should by their personal volition withdraw their support,” he stated.

In his submissions, the member representing Kabba-Bunu State Constituency Hon. Oluwaseyi Bello berated EFCC for allegedly disobeying a subsisting court order in the State.

Former Deputy Speaker Hon. Enema Paul told the anti graft agency to respect the rule of law.

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He said: “Why is EFCC in a haste? Nigeria is not a banana republic. I was surprised to hear a senior lawyer to EFCC inviting the military in a Civil case. Has the Police, DSS failed?

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“I think EFCC should look at their lawyer and see if he is really qualified. The Man they declared wanted is in Appeal Court with them. Declaring him wanted, I think EFCC has a lot of questions to answer. We don’t want military to rule this Country and some body is dragging us back to the olden days.”

Speaker Aliyu Umar Yusuf admonished the anti-graft agency not to act contrary to the law of the country.

“This House is not against the EFCC doing their job but they should do it within the ambit of the law and not in a gestapo way.

“The country belongs to all of us, so we must respect the law and work with it. The EFCC engaging in media trial and working in a gestapo way is unacceptable. If Yahaya Bello has a case to answer, it should be done within the rule of law,” he stated.

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