Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have intercepted various quantities of ephedrine, a strain of cannabis sativa (skunk) and nitrous oxide, popularly known as laughing gas concealed in semovita packs and dry pepper being shipped to South Africa and Kenya through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja Lagos.
The spokesman of the agency, Femi Babafemi, in a statement released on Sunday, September 3, said the trafficking was done by members of Transnational Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTO), some of whom were promptly arrested, their mansions raided and their luxury vehicles seized. Through credible intelligence, NDLEA operatives on Friday 25th August intercepted a notorious drug trafficker, Suleiman Babatunde Oba who is a member of a cartel distributing cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and ephedrine between Nigeria, Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, Mozambique, and Europe.
He was arrested while attempting to board a Rwanda Air flight to South Africa with two boxes loaded with ephedrine sealed in semovita packs. The recovered substance is a precursor chemical and active ingredient in the production of methamphetamine, Babafemi said According to the statement, Suleiman who holds a South African passport, is married to a South African lady and has lived there for over 20 years, identified Hakeem Babatunde Salami who equally lives in Lagos and South Africa as the head of the drug ring.
He said a follow-up raid in the house of Salami located at 75 Wosilatu Dawodu Street, Ijesha, Aguda area of Surulere, Lagos on Monday 28th August revealed that he had fled the country on the same day Suleiman was arrested. He mentioned that a white Toyota Venza car with registration number LSR 410 HT, a Mercedes Benz SUV marked LSD 998HP, phones and vital documents needed for further investigation were recovered from the house.
The NDLEA spokesman recalled that in August 2021, the agency had seized 25.60kgs ephedrine from a trafficker, Arua Emmanuel Onwuka at the Lagos airport, a seizure that has also been traced to the same cartel whose identified members are currently on the run, while an official of the airport, Godwin Shedrack (a.k.a Goddy) fingered as a member of the syndicate is also under investigation. Watch the videos showing the drugs concealed in Semovita and dry pepper below