Nigeria’s National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has seized 1,855kg of cocaine valued at $278 million.
Four suspected drug barons, including a Jamaican, were arrested following the sting operation on a warehouse in Ikorodu area of South West Lagos at the weekend.
Elated by the operation, President Muhammadu Buhari, who is currently in the US for the United General Assembly, contacted the anti-drugs agency and congratulated it for its efforts in stemming drug trafficking.
“I deeply appreciate the work that you have put into the eradication of the drug menace. It gladdens my heart as I continue to follow the successes achieved,” Buhari said.
Commending Mr Buba Marwa, the head of NDLEA, President Buhari said, “You have demonstrated over and again that choosing you to lead this fight against wicked merchants of death, whose sole aim is to endanger and truncate the future of our youth, is a very good choice. Please keep up the good work.”
NDLEA spokesman Femi Babafemi on Monday said this is one of “the biggest singular cocaine seizures” in the agency’s history.
“Kingpins of the cocaine cartel in custody include Messrs Soji Jibril, 69, Emmanuel Chukwu, 65, Wasiu Akinade, 53, Sunday Oguntelure, 53, and Kelvin Smith, 42-year-old Jamaican.
“They are all members of an international drug syndicate that the agency has been trailing since 2018.”
Babafemi said that preliminary investigations reveal that the class A drugs were warehoused in the residential estate from where the cartel was trying to sell them to buyers in Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world.
“They were stored in 10 travel bags and 13 drums,” he said.
Mr Marwa, the NDLEA chairman, said the agency had intercepted 2.3 million kilogrammes of illicit drugs in the last 10 months.
The agency has arrested, prosecuted and secured conviction of more than 500 drugs dealers and consumers, he added.
Mr Marwa said the agency would continue to clamp down on drug traffickers.
“When we make drugs unavailable, it will naturally slow down consumption,” he added.