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NDLEA intercepts drug-laden bus, arrests two grandfathers, young lady in drug trafficking crackdown

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…Busts drug syndicate in Lagos, seizes skuchies, codeine, cannabis, tramadol

By Sodiq Adelakun

Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have seized a consignment of illegal drugs hidden within the engine compartment of an interstate commercial bus. Additionally, two elderly men have been apprehended for their involvement in the narcotics trade.

The NDLEA’s Director of Media & Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, revealed the details of the operation in a statement on Sunday.

According to the report, the bus, bearing the registration number VDY 187 XA, was intercepted on Thursday, March 7, along the Gbongan – Ibadan road in Osun State. NDLEA officers conducting a stop-and-search operation on the highway discovered 5.2kg of cannabis sativa and various opioids cunningly concealed in the vehicle’s engine compartment.

The driver of the bus, 35-year-old Iorliam Sughnen Dominic, admitted to orchestrating the concealment and was subsequently detained for further investigation.In a related development, on Wednesday, March 6, a 26-year-old woman, Obasanmi Esther Iyanu, was arrested in Osogbo, the capital of Osun State. Iyanu, who is accused of producing and distributing a narcotic concoction known as “skuchies,” was captured during a raid on her hideout.

The NDLEA reported the seizure of at least 16.5 litres of the illicit substance, along with varying amounts of molly and cannabis, from her premises.The arrests of the two grandfathers, whose identities and specific roles in the drug trafficking operation were not immediately disclosed, highlight the NDLEA’s ongoing efforts to combat the menace of drug trafficking across all age groups in Nigeria.

“The previous day, Wednesday, March 6, a 26-year-old lady, Obasanmi Esther Iyanu, who produces and distributes skuchies was arrested during a raid on her hideout in Osogbo, the Osun state capital. At least, 16.5 litres of the illicit substance and different quantities of molly and cannabis were recovered from her during the raid.

“In the same vein, NDLEA operatives in Borno state have arrested a 70-year-old grandfather, Mallam Mai Gemu Adam and 65-year-old Yamama Musa for drug trafficking. They were arrested on Saturday, March 9, along with 24-year-old Abubakar Ya’u and Babagana Abubakar Ali, 28, in Maiduguri and Gamboru-Ngala respectively while 32,000 ampoules of tramadol injection were recovered from them.

“Same day, operatives at Geidam in Yobe state intercepted a Golf 3 salon car heading to Gagamari in Niger republic, where the occupant, Alhaji Mala Tijjani, 28, was to deliver 40 blocks of cannabis weighing 24.5kg to another dealer, while 42 cartons containing 8,400 bottles of codeine syrup weighing 1,260 kilograms were recovered from a driver, Mutari Ya’u, 29, at Katsina road, Kaduna on Tuesday, March 5,” it noted.

In Kano state, the agency stated that 35-year-old Nura Yusuf was arrested with 62kg of cannabis in the Gadar Tamburawa area, where Abubakar Sani, 40, was also nabbed with 244 bottles of codeine syrup, while Mohammad Alkali, 28, was found with 49, 800 pills of tramadol along Kano-Maiduguri road, on Thursday, March 7.

Similarly, NDLEA operatives in Lagos on Wednesday arrested Aba Thomas in the Igbo Elerin area of the state where 84 litres of skuchies, 1.1 litres of codeine syrup, 4kg cannabis sativa, and 800 tablets of tramadol 225mg were seized from him.

It said, “No fewer than eight suspects were arrested on Friday where NDLEA officers raided the notorious Karu abattoir drug joint in the FCT, Abuja with 51.3kg cannabis recovered from them. Those arrested include: Buhari Muhammadu; Jamilu Muhammed; Abubakar Wappa; Yahaya Tasiu; Ezekiel Mulanda; Abba Haruna; Habibu Umar and Shamsu Lawali.

“In Plateau state, two suspects: Pam Thomas, 45, and Stephen Nyam, 38, were on Monday, March 4, arrested with cannabis weighing 611.428kg at Zawan, Jos South, while in Kogi state, NDLEA officers intercepted a commercial J5 bus coming from Onitsha, Anambra state to Zaria, Kaduna state on Wednesday 6th March along Okene-Lokoja-Abuja expressway where a total of 8,580 pills of tramadol and exol-5 were seized from a suspect, Yusuf Abdullahi, 40.

“In Enugu, operatives on Tuesday 5th March raided some locked-up shops at the new market in Enugu metropolitan area where 371.42kg cannabis and 9.49 grams of methamphetamine were recovered.

“The NDLEA Commands across the country in the same vein balanced their drug supply reduction operations with War Against Drug Abuse, WADA, advocacy campaigns to schools, markets, worship centres and communities. Some of these include: WADA sensitisation lecture for 1,320 students of Government Secondary School, Madakiya, Kafanchan LGA, Kaduna; students and teachers of Kingdom Heritage School, Badagry, Lagos; students of Comprehensive Secondary School, Bichi, Kano; as well as WADA advocacy visit to Ekiti State First Lady, Dr. (Mrs) Olayemi Oyebanji and her Abia State counterpart, Mrs. Priscilla Otti, among several others.”

The Chairman/Chief Executinve Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), praised the Borno, Kogi, Kaduna, Kano, Osun, Lagos, Plateau, Enugu, Yobe, and FCT Commands for their commendable efforts in the past week. However, he urged them and their colleagues in other formations across the country to remain vigilant and persistent in their endeavors to reduce drug supply and demand.

Crime

Mother of five jailed for forging late Abba Kyari’s signature

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The Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Gwagwalada, Abuja, has sentenced a mother of five, Ramat Mba, to one year imprisonment for her involvement in an employment scam.

Mba also forged the signature of the late Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to the former President, Muhammadu Buhari.

The presiding judge, Honourable Justice Ibrahim Muhammad, had last week deferred the sentencing of the convict till Thursday but directed that she should be remanded in Suleja Correctional Centre.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission had arraigned Mba in June 2022 on a 5-count bordering on cheating, fraud and forgery, contrary to Section 13 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 and Sections 320(b), 366 of the Penal Code Cap 89 laws of Northern Nigeria.

n the course of the trial, the commission, through its prosecutor, Hamza Sani, had led Mba in evidence before the court on how the convict committed the offence sometime in 2020 when she collected N4.5 million from several job seekers, promising to secure jobs for them with the ICPC and National Air Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA).

Also, the documentary evidence tendered showed that the convict fraudulently forged the letterhead of the Office of the Chief of Staff to former President Buhari and his signature.

The letter, addressed to the ICPC Chairman, was a request for the recruitment of three individuals by the commission.

However, the late CoS, in a written correspondence that was also tendered in court as an exhibit, distanced himself or his office from authorising the letter.

The spokesperson for the ICPC, Demola Bakare, revealed the development in a statement on Friday.

Bakare revealed, “The trial judge, Justice Muhammad, in his judgment on May 9, 2024, convicted the mother of five children on counts 1, 2, 3 and 5 that border on cheating and forgery, while she was discharged on count 4 which borders on felony.

“Justice Muhammad, during the sentencing on Thursday, pronounced a six-month jail term or N100,000 option of fine on counts 1, 2 and 3 on the convict.

“The presiding judge, who stressed the status of the convict as a first-time offender and a mother, also sentenced her to one-year imprisonment or N150,000 option on fine on count 5 which borders on forgery.”

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Crime

15 worshippers die in Kano mosque attack — Police

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The Kano State Police Command on Friday confirmed the death of 15 persons in the mosque attack in Gadan village in Gezawa Local Government Area of the state.

A man on Wednesday allegedly sprayed the mosque with petrol, locked its doors, and set it on fire, trapping worshippers.

The state Commissioner of Police, Usaini Gumel, told the News Agency of Nigeria in a telephone interview that so far, 15 out of the 24 victims of the incident died.

Initial reports said one worshipper had died from the attack but the death toll later rose after more victims died while receiving treatment at the Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital in Kano.

Gumel said that the incident occurred during a dawn prayer at a mosque in Gadan village, leaving 24 worshippers injured.

He said the injured victims were currently receiving treatment at the Murtala Mohammed Specialist Hospital, Kano.

The suspect, Shafi’u Abubakar, 38 is currently in police custody.

The motive behind the attack was believed to be a family conflict over the sharing of family inheritance.

The commissioner said that the police are continuing with their investigation into the attack.

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Crime

Buying pre-registered SIM cards criminal, NCC warns

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The Nigerian Communications Commission has warned Nigerians against buying pre-registered SIM cards, citing the illegal nature of the practice, and could attract severe consequences.

In an advisory note sighted on its X platform on Friday, the telecom regulator emphasized that the use of pre-registered SIM cards compromises the accuracy of consumer information.

“Buying pre-registered SIM cards is criminal and may lead to imprisonment, implication in identity theft, financial fraud, kidnapping and armed robbery,” part of the advisory noted.

The NCC explained that using a pre-registered SIM card undermined the reliability of data collected on consumers, making it challenging for authorities to identify and apprehend the actual perpetrators of crimes.

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The warning aims to educate the public on the risks associated with pre-registered SIM cards and encourage compliance with legal guidelines to enhance national security.

The commission urged to follow the proper procedures for registering SIM cards to avoid any legal consequence.

The NCC made the linkage compulsory, directing all telecommunications operators to enforce complete network barring on all phone lines for which subscribers fail to link their SIM cards to their NINs.

There have been two phases of barring SIM cards not linked to NIN by the telcos – the first occurred on February 28 and the second one occurred on March 29.

The regulator, however, has extended the deadline for linking SIM cards to NIN (last phase) to July 31, 2024, from April 15. This extension applies to subscribers with more than four SIMs.

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