An alleged drug trafficker, identified as Suleiman Babatunde Oba, who is a member of a cartel distributing cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and ephedrine in Nigeria, Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, Mozambique, and Europe has been arrested by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
Femi Babafemi, NDLEA Director of Media and Advocacy, who disclosed this in a statement on Sunday, noted that through credible intelligence, NDLEA personnel on Friday, August 25, intercepted Suleiman Babatunde with various quantities of ephedrine, skunk and nitrous oxide, popularly known as laughing gas.
It was learnt that the products were concealed in semovita packs and disguised as dry pepper being shipped to South Africa and Kenya through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos by members of Transnational Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTO).
He explained that 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.
The statement reads in part, “In his statement, Suleiman who holds a South African passport, 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.
“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.
“However, 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.
“In August 2021, the Agency seized 25.60kg 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. An official of the airport, Godwin Shedrack (a.k.a Goddy) fingered as a member of the syndicate is also under investigation.
“In the same vein, an attempt by another syndicate to export 10.40kg skunk concealed with scent leaf and pepper, going to Nairobi, Kenya, was equally thwarted by NDLEA operatives attached to the NAHCO export shed of the airport on Saturday 26th August. A suspect, Ekechukwu Sixtus Ndubuisi, has already been arrested in connection with the seizure.”
“Another bid to export a consignment of 180 cannisters of laughing gas to South Africa by a freight agent, Oyekola Gbenga Akeem for a fee of Two Million Naira (N2, 000, 000) was also frustrated by operatives who seized the cargo and arrested the suspect,” the statement added.