The authorities arrested the kingpin at his residence on 28 Afolabi Brown Street, Akoka, Yaba, following a 25-day surveillance operation
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has reported that its operatives recently seized several quantities of ephedrine, skunk, and nitrous oxide, commonly referred to as laughing gas.
The illegal substances were discovered concealed in packages of semovita and dry pepper, which were being shipped to South Africa and Kenya via the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Ikeja, Lagos.
According to a statement by the NDLEA spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, the consignments were being shipped by members of Transnational Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTO), some of whom were promptly arrested, their mansions raided and their luxury vehicles seized.
“Through credible intelligence, NDLEA operatives on Friday 25th August intercepted a notorious drug trafficker, Suleiman Babatunde Oba who is a member of a cartel distributing Cocaine, Heroin, Methamphetamine and Ephedrine between Nigeria, Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, Mozambique, and Europe.
“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 said.
It added that 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.
The agency said that 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.
The agency said it had in August 2021 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.
It noted that 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, the NDLEA said an attempt by another syndicate to export 10.40kg skunk concealed with scent leaf and pepper, going to Nairobi, Kenya, was equally thwarted by its operatives attached to the NAHCO export shed of the airport on Saturday 26th August, adding that 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.
Meanwhile, NDLEA operatives on Friday 25th August also succeeded in arresting a drug kingpin, Ngene Emmanuel Onyedikachi, who recruited the fake couple, Ilonzeh Kingsley Onyebuchi and Ilonzeh Roseline Nonyelum arrested for ingesting 1.822kg and 1.50kg of Cocaine respectively at the Lagos airport on 1st August while on their way to India.
The authorities arrested the kingpin at his residence on 28 Afolabi Brown Street, Akoka, Yaba, following a 25-day surveillance operation.