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Lagos airport records 400% surge in drug impounds by NDLEA in 2018

…as drug couriers deploy new tactics

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has recorded a total of 5,377.125kilogramms of drugs impounded at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos in 2018, representing over 400percent increase.

It will be recalled that in 2017, the agency impounded drugs 1,266.400 kilogramms of drugs; however the number quadrupled in 2018 as a result of the significant increase in the number of tramadol seized at the Lagos airport.

Top destinations of drug couriers arrested include Nigeria, South Africa, Indonesia, Dr Congo, India, Mozambique, Dubai and Saudi Arabia, amongst others.

Ahmadu Garba, the MMIA Commandant told journalists at the airport that the agency was able to record such tremendous increase as a result of the trainings acquired by the officials of NDLEA to identify suspects, corporation of airlines and significant increase in the number of tramadol seized at the airport.

“We were able to make this huge success in 2018 as a result of the cooperation of foreign airlines. Every year, we look at the airlines with the highest number of people that are arrested and liaise with them on how to address issue of drug trafficking.

“30.14 percent of the suspected drug couriers arrested during the year were coming into Nigeria and the remaining 69.89 percent were destined to different countries of the world with 13.70 percent of them going to South Africa, which has the highest numbers,” Garba said.

He explained that out of the total number of 5,377.125 kilogramms seized by the agency, 5002.900 were tramadol, representing 93.04 percent.

He said other drugs seized include cocaine, heroin, cannabis sativa, methamphetamine, ephedrine, psychotropic substance and dummy, adding that 25 people were convicted.

He further explained that during the period under review, seventy-nine males and one female, making a total of 80 Nigerians were deported for drug-related offences as against 139 deported in 2017, showing a decrease of 42.45percent.

“Most of the drug deportees came from South Africa 30.00 percent, Thailand 23.75 percent, United States of America (USA) 12.50 percent and Ethiopia 10 percent,” Garba said.

However, Garba said drug couriers have continued to deploy new tactics in packaging the drugs to avoid suspicion by officials at the airport.

The illegal mode of taking these drugs out of the country include the use of false bottom, electronics, stocking inside food stuff and most recently the usage of starched cloths.

The drug couriers starch the cloths together with the drugs and if they are successful, they are able to detach the drugs from the starched cloths after processing them.

 

IFEOMA OKEKE

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