The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has set ablaze 1.8 tons of cocaine, valued at 194,775,000,000, which it recovered from a warehouse in Lagos last week.
The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the anti-narcotics agency, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa, while leading stakeholders to witness the crushing and setting ablaze of the illicit substance on Tuesday in Badagry, Lagos, warned drug cartels and barons operating in the country that tougher times await them if they refuse to give up their illicit trade.
TheFact Daily had on Monday, 19 September, reported the successful bursting of a drug syndicate following a well-coordinated and intelligence led operation that lasted two days, after they stormed a hidden warehouse at 6 Olukunola street, Solebo estate Ikorodu, where 1.8 tons of cocaine were recovered and five suspects including a Jamaican were arrested.
Following the historical seizure, which had been described as the largest in the Agency’s history, an order of the Federal High Court in Lagos was obtained for the public destruction of the consignment.
Speaking at the venue of the destruction of the substance, Gen. Marwa, who was represented by the Agency’s Director, Prosecution and Legal Services, Deputy Commander General of Narcotics, DCGN Sunday Joseph, said the sheer volume of the drug haul, with street value put at two hundred and seventy-eight million, two hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($278, 250,000), equivalent to one hundred and ninety-four billion, seven hundred and seventy-five million (N194, 775,000,000) naira, speaks volumes about the extent of the nefarious activities of the drug underworld.
As a result, he said, it had become imperative for Nigerians to continue to support NDLEA in the renewed war against illicit drugs.
According to him, out of the 1.8-ton seizure, 1, 828 blocks of the cocaine will be crushed and set ablaze while the remnant would be secured for purpose of prosecution of the suspects who were brought to witness the procedure and sign the certificate of destruction.
He also said that the Agency was proceeding with the prosecution of those arrested in connection with the consignment.
“On this, the public can be rest assured that NDLEA shall pursue the trial to a logical conclusion. Since January 25, 2021, when we commenced our offensive action against drug traffickers, the Agency has secured record convictions. Presently, 2,904 drug offenders are serving various jail terms, while other cases are ongoing in court, which we are confident will end in positive results too”, Joseph said.
Addressing the drug underworld, Joseph said the burst of the syndicate responsible for the cocaine warehoused in Ikorodu was a warning to drug cartels that their investments in the illicit drug trade would meet the same fate as the drugs which they had seen go up in flames, as well as lose their freedom.
He also added that the present NDLEA was committed to arresting, prosecuting and ensuring the conviction of those involved in illicit drugs.
“That is not all, we now also go after their assets acquired with the proceeds of the criminal trade”, he explained.
Marwa said the fact that the Ikorodu operation was conducted clinically without any skirmish or bloodshed was further testimony to the evolution of the NDLEA and its new capabilities, and a pointer to the fact that the game had changed in the war against illicit drugs.
He expressed appreciation to the Agency’s international partners, especially the American Drug Enforcement Administration (US-DEA) that supported the cocaine syndicate bust and the Nigerian military that provided additional firepower during the operation, as well as other law enforcement agencies that had been supporting efforts to rid Nigeria of illicit drugs.
While soliciting for more support for the Agency’s work, Marwa said, “the safety of our society is the responsibility of every one of us and every citizen shall be fulfilling his or her civic duty by assisting the Agency to clean up our communities and cities by joining our War Against Drug Abuse (WADA). Together, we can make this country secure”.