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NDLEA intercepts largest consignment of heroin at Lagos airport, arrests four cartel members

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has successfully dismantled and arrested members of an organised criminal organization which specialises in trafficking heroin across Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Europe and America in a 12-day well-coordinated operation leading to the seizure of the single largest consignment of heroin at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA Ikeja Lagos.

This was disclosed at a press conference by the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig Gen Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) in Lagos on Tuesday 27th February 2024.

While explaining that the briefing is in line with the Agency’s policy of transparency in its renewed fight against drug traffickers, he gave a chronological brief of how the operation leading to what is now the single largest seizure of heroin at the Lagos airport was successfully carried out.

According to Marwa, “It started on February 10, 2024, when NDLEA operatives of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Command intercepted a suspicious package at the SAHCO Import Shed of the airport’s Cargo Terminal. The consignment was concealed in 15 cartons of 2300-watt metal cutting machines. Each carton was stocked with three blocks of high-grade heroin. In total, we recovered 45 blocks of the illicit substance with a total weight of 49.70kg.

“After the discovery, we were methodical and meticulous in our investigations. We started with the arrest of the freight agent whose name is Olowolagba Wasiu Babatunde. It turned out that he was hired for clearing services by Mattpee Logistics, a company operated by one Mr. Kola, resident in South Africa.

“Next, we conducted a follow up operation at the company’s warehouse in the Shogunle area of Oshodi, Lagos, and arrested the warehouse manager, whose name is Ajayi Imole Moses. Thereafter, we set up an ambush for the expected receiver of the consignment who was duly arrested when he showed up for collection. This receiver, whose name is Adinnu Felix Chinedu, confessed during interrogation that he is the main distributor for a drug syndicate whose membership is spread across Nigeria.

“He admitted that he usually conveyed the consignment to a dedicated warehouse located in Ayobo. That place served as a workshop where he would dismantle the consignment and remove the drugs from the machines. Thereafter, he would wait for a list of various recipients to be forwarded to him from South Africa by the head of the criminal group.

“Our operatives did due diligence by conducting a thorough search of the warehouse which led to the recovery of 56 similar cartons of the cutting machines that were used previously as modes of concealment to ferry heroin into Nigeria.

“At this point, it was clear that we are dealing with a syndicate that operates in other countries. By the time we were done exploring various leads we had, we unravelled an organised criminal network that operates in South Africa, Mozambique, Nigeria and parts of Europe and America.

“This syndicate has a wide network in Nigeria because the consignments we seized were marked with several codenames, showing that they belonged to different members of this organised criminal group. Furthermore, in our follow-up operation, we uncovered from the suspect a long list of receivers of illicit drugs.

“In the end, we were able to identify the kingpin of the syndicate here in Nigeria and his name is Reginald Peter Chidiebere. Our investigations showed that he owns the Golden Platinum Hotel and Suite, located at 16 Reginald Peter Chidiebere Street, Hope Estate, Ago Palace.”

The NDLEA boss said several days of surveillance on the hotel culminated in a raid operation on Monday, February 19 in which another drug mule, Igboanugo Chukwuebuka Thankgod, was found in possession of two parcels of 2.2kg heroin with codes similar to the ones found on the seized drug shipment, bringing the total seizure to 51.90 kilograms.

“He readily confessed that he was invited by Mr. Reginald Peter Chidiebere to the hotel on Sunday, February 18, 2024. He was lodged in one of the rooms and was later summoned by the receptionist to meet a guest, from whom Reginald Peter Chidiebere had informed him over the phone to receive a package. This sequence of action was confirmed by a review of the CCTV at the hotel,” he stated.

He further explained that pre-emptive actions so far taken against members of the syndicate include freezing a total of 107 bank accounts associated with 14 members of the cartel as well as N119,582,928.31 found in some of the already traced bank accounts.

He added that the hotel and a mansion linked to the head of the syndicate in Nigeria, Reginald Peter Chidiebere and another mansion linked to the head of the syndicate in Mozambique, Festus Ibewuike located in Ago Palace area had already been marked for forfeiture to the Federal Government.

He said the measure yielded further fruit on Thursday 22nd February when a female member of the syndicate and wife of Festus Ibewuike, Mrs. Confidence Ndidiamaka, Ibewuike who is one of those to collect part of the consignment from Adinnu Felix Chinedu, was arrested at Ago Palace area on last Thursday.

“When they were brought face to face, he (Adinnu Felix Chinedu) immediately identified her as one of the members of the criminal syndicate who had received similar packages of heroin

Crime

UNN lecturer caught pants down inside office with student

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A lecturer of University of Nigeria Nsukka, UNN, has been caught pants down inside his office with a female student.

The man whose name is yet to be ascertained by newsmen is said to be a lecturer in the School of General Studies of the institution.

The victim is alleged to be someone’s wife.

A voice in the viral video said: “We have been following this case from day one. As you can see we have all the chats, voice notes, videos and everything.”

Commenting under the video, a student identified the man in the video, claiming he taught him Peace and Conflict, a course under General Studies, during his time in UNN.

He said: “That is my lecturer in UNN, he taught us Peace and Conflict under GS in my time. We called him or rather, he called himself “The Short Man.” He was very strict with us in class. It’s unfortunate that he was involved in this.”

Another source said: “When he wants to sleep with someone’s wife? Well, it was planned by her husband, UNN security with some students. Even when the lady offered him money he refused. Well, with this, if he still remains, he will never try that again”.

When contacted to speak on the matter, the Public Relations Officer of the institution said he was yet to see the video.

He said he would investigate to find out if it’s true.

Meanwhile, a lecturer, who sought to remain anonymous identified the location of where the incident happened as a GS building. He, however, said he couldn’t disclose the name of the man in the video.

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Crime

Justice served: Two defendants await sentence for motorcycle theft

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In a recent case brought before the Magistrates’ Court in Kafanchan, Kaduna State, the wheels of justice turned decisively as two individuals, John Simon and Yusuf Nikie, found themselves facing the weight of the law for their involvement in the theft of a motorcycle. Their guilty pleas echoed through the courtroom, leading Magistrate Michael Bawa to order their remand in a correctional facility pending further proceedings, with the final judgment slated for May 2.

Simon and Nikie stood accused by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, charged on two counts: conspiracy and theft. The narrative unfolded as Prosecutor Marcus Audu presented the facts to the court. According to Audu, the saga began when Tanko Umaru, the aggrieved party, filed a report at the corps’ office in Kafanchan on April 13, detailing the disturbing incident.

The prosecution outlined the sequence of events, alleging that the defendants brazenly entered Umaru’s residence in Bakin Kogi and absconded with his prized possession—an emblem of mobility and livelihood—a Bajaj motorcycle. Yet, their scheme was thwarted as the long arm of the law swiftly intervened. The diligent efforts of law enforcement culminated in the apprehension of Simon and Nikie during the investigative process, with the stolen motorcycle discovered in their possession, serving as damning evidence against them.

The gravity of their actions was underscored by the legal framework within which they operated. Audu emphasized that Simon and Nikie had transgressed against the provisions outlined in Sections 58 and 270 of the Kaduna State Penal Code Law, reflecting the severity of their offenses under the jurisdiction of the court.

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Lagos trader jailed 5 years for receiving N2.19m stolen property

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An Ikeja Magistrates’ Court on Monday sentenced a 22-year-old trader, Mohammed Abdulhamid, to five years imprisonment for receiving stolen property worth N2.19 million.

The convict who resides in Ayobo area, Lagos, had pleaded guilty to the two-count charge of conspiracy and receiving stolen property.

The Magistrate, Mrs O. O. Fagbohun, sentenced the convict to Kirikiri Correctional Centre without an option of fine.

Fagbohun noted that the sentence would serve as a deterrent to others.

Earlier, the Prosecutor, Insp. Felicia Okwori, told the court that the offences were committed between June  2023 at 56, Captain Davies Road, Ayobo, Lagos.

Okwori said the convict received stolen property from one Mohammed Awalu, security guard to the complainant, Mrs Omolola Idowu.

She disclosed that Awalu is currently serving his jail term on the same offences.

She added that the convict and others still at large stole the complainant’s property when she travelled.

The prosecutor listed the stolen property to include two gates valued at N540,000, window protectors worth N870,000 and a power generator worth N300,000.

She listed other stolen items as ceiling fan worth N25,000, gas cooker N375,000, and a pumping machine valued at N85,000, all totalling N2.19 million.

According to the prosecutor, the offences contravene Sections 328 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015

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