NDLEA arrests Saudi-bound trafficker with cocaine in sandals

The activities of a major cocaine syndicate in Lagos were halted over the weekend when a 56-year-old trafficker, Lawal Lateef Oyenuga, was arrested while en route to transport 400 grammes of the class A narcotic concealed in a pair of palm sandals.

The activities of a major cocaine syndicate in Lagos were halted over the weekend when a 56-year-old trafficker, Lawal Lateef Oyenuga, was arrested while en route to transport 400 grammes of the class A narcotic concealed in a pair of palm sandals to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The arrest of the wanted renowned kingpin, Wasiu Sanni Gbolahan, better known as Teacher, who recruits mules for the cartel, followed shortly after.

On November 24, NDLEA agents at the screening point of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Ikeja, Lagos, discovered a pair of black palm sandals in the luggage of one Lawal Lateef Oyenuga, who was flying with Ethiopian Airways from Addis Ababa to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Analysis of the sandals revealed that they had been used to stow away two packages totalling 400 grammes of cocaine. It has been less than a week since the arrest of Mrs Ajisegiri Kehinde Sidika, a 56-year-old widow and mother of four, for attempting to smuggle 400 grammes of cocaine into Makkah, Saudi Arabia, by hiding it in her shoes.

Oyenuga stated that he was recruited by Wasiu Sanni Gbolahan, also known as Teacher, to be a drug trafficker and that he was given cocaine pellets to swallow before being handed the ones hidden in the palm sandals.

He claimed that he turned to the illegal trade to raise money to pay an examination cost for his daughter, who is currently enrolled in class 3 of Senior Secondary School.

According to the agency’s records, Wasiu Sanni (Teacher) has been involved in attempted cocaine shipments to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the past.

Alhaji Ademola Afolabi Kazeem (a.k.a. Alhaji Abdallah Kazeem Muhammed), a Lagos socialite and the proprietor of Adekaz Hotels, was previously cited as the person who recruited a BRT driver, Bolajoko Muyiwa Babalola, to transport drugs to Dubai. Ademola Kazeem was apprehended on November 10, just ten days after being declared wanted by NDLEA, and Bolajoko was nabbed on June 27 while transporting 900 grammes of cocaine to Dubai.

The kingpin, Teacher, known for recruiting mules for drug lords in Lagos and its surrounds, was apprehended at his home in the Ikorodu neighbourhood of Lagos in the early hours of Friday, November 25, following a follow-up operation. Wasiu Sanni Gbolahan, 64, is a real estate agent with seven children and four wives, one of whom has passed away.

Wordu Hopewell Chukwuemeka, the proprietor of a boutique in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, was detained in Dubai on Thursday, November 24, as part of a follow-up operation to the 9th September seizure of 1.10 kilogrammes of cannabis concealed in bottles of body cream.

Similarly, on November 22, operatives linked to the NAHCO import shed at the Lagos airport stopped a consolidated cargo shipment from Johannesburg, South Africa, arriving on an Air Peace Airline flight.

It was discovered that 25 packages of the Loud form of cannabis weighing a total of 5.5 kilogrammes were smuggled into the country under the guise of various other products, such as clothing, food, baby toys, beverages, and a pair of large black speakers.

On the same day, officers at the airport’s SAHCO export shed seized 500 grammes of cannabis hidden within a carton of food goods en route to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and detained the owner, Uzoma Kingsley.

On the same day, the NDLEA and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria’s Aviation Security (AVSEC) personnel stopped a criminal organisation from shipping 131 kilogrammes of ephedrine (a key ingredient in making meth) to Congo Kinshasa through the airport’s SAHCO export shed. Nwazuru Georgewill and Saheed Muritala, two freight agents, were quickly apprehended after being linked to the bid.

Meanwhile, on November 25, NDLEA agents apprehended drug trafficker Udogwu James Johnson at the Port Harcourt International Airport after he skipped bail and attempted to leave the country to avoid multiple counts of drug offences.

While on trial in a Lagos federal high court, the 51-year-old suspect was nabbed in Port Harcourt on April 9 with 5.48 kg of cocaine hidden in plastic lotion bottles and sealed with candle wax.

The Lagos court issued a warrant of arrest against him for jumping bail in his case in Lagos, but on Wednesday, November 23, a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt granted him bail for his most recent offence.

Iroegbute Ejike Francis, 46, a Nigerian national returning to his home country through a Qatar Airways flight from Brazil to Doha, Qatar, and then Abuja, Nigeria, was detained by National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) agents on Thursday, November 24, as he attempted to smuggle four kilogrammes of cocaine into the country concealed in towels in his carry-on luggage.

One notorious cripple, Ibrahim Yusuf, 45, was arrested on November 21 at Gasline, Ifo, Ogun state, with 4 kilogrammes of the psychotropic substance, and another 36 bags weighing 570 kilogrammes of the same substance were recovered in a raid at a forest in Ogunmakin town, Obafemi Owode LGA, making a total of 5,851.3 kilogrammes (5.8 tonnes) of cannabis sativa seized from dealers across five states in the

On Tuesday, November 22, operatives in Edo seized 141 bags of Cannabis Sativa weighing 1,884 kg (1.884 tonnes) from a warehouse in Okpe forest, Akoko Edo LGA. On Thursday, November 24, NDLEA officers apprehended Ismaila Abubakar, 50, at Okada junction, Ovia South West LGA, with 22 bags of C/S weighing 216.5kg. Operatives also recovered 1,512 kilograms of C/S from 112 bags the following day in the Obi Camp forest, Ovia South West LGA.

Then, on the way to Onitsha, Anambra State, police stopped a Toyota Sienna bus with the registration number BDG 598 FZ (Lagos) and seized 566.5 kilogrammes of cannabis, along with the suspect, 30-year-old Sunday Mathias.

In Ondo state, NDLEA agents raided the Oke-Ogun forest on November 25, seizing 88 kilogrammes of cannabis, firearms, and ammunition. Agents also found 149.5 kilogrammes of cannabis in the Ipele forest. On November 26, police in Efon Alaye, Ekiti state, detained two dealers named Richard Ebong and Nze Abraham, who promptly destroyed 12.42 hectares of cannabis plantations and collected 195 kilogrammes of processed weeds of the narcotic.

Adebayo Rahmat, 27, was detained in Sabo-Ilupeju, Atiba LGA, Oyo state, on November 24 with 136.3 kg of cannabis. On the same day, in the Bodinga region of Sokoto state, suspect Muhsin Abdullahi was apprehended with 84,000 pills of Tramadol tablets.

Basiru Muhammadu and Saidu Yusuf were arrested on the same day for possessing 54,500 tablets of Tramadol and Exol-5 in Kokami village, Danta LGA, Katsina, Lawal Rabe, 24, was apprehended with 16,000 pills of Exol-5 and D5 hidden in palm oil.

Brigadier General Mohamed Buba Marwa (Ret.), Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), praised the officers and men of the Agency’s MMIA, NAIA, PHIA, Edo, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo, Sokoto, Katsina, and Oyo Commands for their professionalism in carrying out their duties and the outstanding results that ensued.

He urged them and all Nigerians to remain vigilant as the holiday season approaches.

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