Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - The Nigerian National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) seized over 297.957 kilogrammes of narcotic substances from couriers at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, between January and September 2012, Mr. Hamza Umar, the NDLEA Area Commander at the airport, said here Wednesday.
Umar explained that the drugs were intercepted from 95 suspected couriers who have been arrested with the narcotic substances in their bid to take the stings out of the country during the period under review. Eighty one of the suspects are men and 14 women.
The narcotics seized included 62.765 kilogrammes of cocaine, 61.680 kilogrammes of heroin, 64.100 kilogrammes of cannabis, 77.630 kilogrammes of methamhetamine and 31.800 kilogrammes of ephedrine, Umar said.
He explained that while there was a drastic reduction in the quantity of drugs seized at the airport, the NDLEA has, however, found disturbing the unusual trend whereby drugs are now being trafficked through the cargo with the couriers getting more ingenious about the mode of concealing the drugs.
He added that the couriers had become smarter by concealing the drugs inside sports equipment, including football, packed into cartons, which were randomly packaged.
He also explained that the NDLEA, through its improved operations, has saved the lives of about 21 Nigerians who would have faced capital punishment if they were not arrested at the airport for taking the drugs to places like Malaysia, Singapore, China and Saudi Arabia, where drug trafficking attracts the capital punishment.
He explained that 18 of the suspects arrested were billed to take the drug to Malaysia, with the other three billed for other countries where drug traffickers die by hanging.
He explained that in 2010, the quantity of drugs seized at the airport was 400 kilogrammes, even as robust international collaboration with partners in the drug war has brought about a reduction in the quantity of narcotic substances seized.
He lauded the international partners that have provided training and sharing of operational intelligence to track down drug couriers.
He, however, said that in the discharge of his duties, he had continued to receive death threats on phones and short message services.
-0- PANA AD/VAO 11Oct2012