By Adedapo Adesanya
Some anti-narcotic officers attached to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have apprehended the manufacturer of a new psychoactive substance popularly called Akuskura, Mr Qasim Ademola.
The suspect was arrested on Thursday, September 15 along Zaria-Kano road, Gadar Tamburawa, Kano with 26,600 bottles of the illicit substance meant for distribution across Northern states.
In a statement issued on Sunday by the spokesman of the NDLEA, Mr Femi Babafemi, disclosed that the 39-year-old proprietor from Akinyele LGA, Oyo State was nabbed along with three of his distributors.
Also, last week, the agency arrested an ex-convict, Mr Onyeka Charles Madukolu, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja Lagos for importing 5.90 kilograms of cocaine concealed in cans of deodorants and ladies’ lip gloss into Nigeria.
It was stated that the 44-year-old man was sentenced to seven years imprisonment in Ethiopia for drug trafficking offences and released from prison in 2020.
Last Friday, at the Lagos airport on his return from Sao Paulo, Brazil via Addis Ababa on an Ethiopian Airlines flight, a search of his luggage revealed he had concealed 5.90kg of cocaine inside cans of deodorants and female lip gloss.
“During the preliminary interview, he claimed to have gone into the drug business to raise fresh capital to start a legitimate business after his release from Ethiopian prison in 2020,” the statement said.
According to the anti-narcotic agency, the suspect, a father of two kids, one from a Nigerian woman and a Brazilian lady, said he was in the motor spare parts business before going into the criminal trade.
The indigene of Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State told NDLEA officials that he was expecting to be paid N2 million on the successful delivery of the illicit drug in Nigeria.
Similarly, another suspected trafficker, Mr Chukwu Kingsley, was apprehended on Tuesday, September 15, on his way to Rome, Italy, via an Asky Airline flight.
The 49-year-old suspect, who hails from Oru West Local Government Area of Imo State, was said to have concealed, among food condiments, 11,460 tablets of tramadol 225mg with a gross weight of 5.7kg and 39 bottles of codeine syrup.
Also at the Lagos airport, a freight agent, Lawal Adeyemi, was arrested the same day for attempting to export some sachets of lexotan among other non-controlled drugs, to Liberia. At the same time, operatives equally seized 593.90 kilograms of khat leaf at the NAHCO import shed of the airport on Thursday 15th Sept. after a joint examination of the cargo by a combined team of security agencies.
In a related development, NDLEA operatives on patrol along Okene-Abuja Expressway intercepted a J5 vehicle in Kogi state on Saturday, September 17.
The vehicle, which was coming from Onitsha enroute Kaduna-Zaria, was intercepted with 18 pieces of pump action rifles and 1,300 cartridges. The two suspects conveying the arms and ammunition, Mr Chukwudi Aronu, 51, and Mr Shuaibu Gambo, 23, were arrested.
Another suspect, Mr Anthony Agada, 37, conveying 1,000 cartridges, was equally nabbed in a bus coming from Onitsha to Abuja the same day, while 1,404 bottles of codeine syrup and 2,040 ampoules of pentazocine injection were seized from another vehicle coming from Onitsha enroute Sokoto, with the receiver, Mr Stanley Raymond, 39, and the sender, Mr Shadrack Ifediora, 46, arrested in follow up operations in Sokoto and Anambra respectively.
In Kaduna, a drug dealer, Mr Mohammed Mustapha Dalhatu, a.k.a Dawa, was arrested at Sabon Gari Zaria with eight bags of Cannabis Sativa weighing 67kg, and another, Maikudi Hassan, was arrested at Gubuci village of Ikara LGA with five bags of cannabis weighing 54.2kg.
On Thursday, September 15, operatives also arrested Mary Ugwu and Hawwa Idi at Anchau town, Kubau LGA, with 721 ampoules of pentazocine injection; 37,000 tablets of exol-5 and nine ampoules of diazepam injection, as well as 6.8kg of rubber solution.
In Edo, operatives recovered 285kg of cannabis in two raids at Okpuje, on Friday, September 16, while in Lagos, 972.5kg of the same substance was recovered from an electronic shop at Alaba Int’l market and one of the suspects, Mrs Ebere Aja, 38, arrested. No less than 335.1kg of cannabis was also seized in a raid at Kwanar Kundum area of Bauchi town, with two suspects: Usman Garba and Najib Ibrahim, arrested.
Poverty Alleviation: President Buhari Sends NSIP Bill to Senate
By Adedapo Adesanya
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday sent a bill to formally establish the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) to the Senate.
The President said the NSIP Bill would provide a legal and institutional framework for the programme.
He explained in the letter read in plenary by the Senate President, Mr Ahmad Lawan, that consideration and passage of the bill will provide the enabling law for the effective implementation of the programme.
He said it was geared towards poverty alleviation of vulnerable Nigerians.
Part of the letter read: “The National Social Investment Programme Establishment Bill seeks to provide a legal and institutional framework for the establishment of the NSIP for the assistance and empowerment of the poor and vulnerable people in Nigeria.”
The NSIP was put together by the federal government following the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
The federal government has also been injecting N500 billion into the programme annually since then.
Recall that two out of every three Nigerians are poor and experience just over one-quarter of all possible deprivations in terms of health, education, living standards, and work and shocks.
This was disclosed by the National Bureau of Statistics disclosed in the 2022 (NBS) Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) Report, which put that over 130 million Nigerians are multidimensionally poor.
A breakdown of the dimensions of poverty used for the MPI includes nutrition, food insecurity, Time to healthcare, school attendance, Years of schooling and School lag.
Others are water, water reliability, sanitation, housing materials, cooking fuel, assets, unemployment, underemployment, and security shock.
Among other things, the report showed that 65 per cent of poor people, which equates to 86 million Nigerians, live in the North, while 35 per cent, nearly 47 million, live in the South.
Mr Buhari, in two other separate requests, seeks the consideration and passage of the National Library Establishment Bill 2022.
The proposed law, according to him, will provide the legal framework for the maintenance of the National Library of Nigeria in line with global practices.
The final request of the president to the federal lawmakers dwells on the consideration and passage of an executive bill on the Federal Produce Inspection Service.
Social Media Marketing Must Remain Steadfast Amid Looming Recession—Expert
By Adedapo Adesanya
Social media marketing is expected to weather the impending downturn just as economists around the world are warning that a recession is looming.
According to marketing expert and CEO of the AMD Consulting group, Mr Assil Dayri, as the world moves toward more significant economic uncertainty, influencer marketing will remain a key differentiator for brands.
The latest social trends reports predict that social media will top marketing budgets in 2023 as marketers turn to new strategies. Business plans already consider the imminent recession, and the marketing and social media sectors would be the first to see reduced resources, although work carried out by influencers through these channels is still on the rise. With this financial uncertainty, marketing investments will probably decrease, but brands will have to be smart since a total cut is not a viable option.
According to the specialist, influencer marketing is essential for the consumer, who will also feel the impacts of this economic instability.
“After all, as these difficulties settle in, the public turns to content producers they trust to seek references on where to safely put their money. Collaborating with key personalities to promote your brand will become even more essential based on the trust and credibility they have.
“In tough economic times, you don’t want to make any mistakes when selecting the influencers you work with. One of the great advantages of working with influencers is that regardless of the size of the brand or the audience you want to reach, there are nano, micro or macro influencers who are skilled at reaching that target market and can work within your budget,” he said.
Recent research shows that more brands are finding success with smaller influencers, thanks to their hyper-focused audience with very specific interests. Since smaller influencers are seen as more genuine and trustworthy, their followers tend to put more faith in the products or services they promote.
Consumers also begin to have less confidence in macro influencers, as they understand how many of them think more about the financial aspect and not the value that the brands they promote bring to the public.
It was noted that Instagram still leads the influencer marketing space in terms of professionals using the platform, as well as the amount of budget they invest. However, with the significant growth that TikTok is seeing, the specialist warned that we could see a shift soon as more brands are now entering the TikTok space.
To prepare for these changes, influencers need to find ways to make their content relevant and genuine. Considering the cut in marketing budgets, we could see in the next year, Influencers need to be consistent and creative to be chosen to collaborate with brands in these uncertain times.
“Being faithful to your niche and producing quality content to have a solid, strong, and influential image becomes essential because companies will start being even more selective,” Mr Dayri added.
On the positive side, this line of work is still on the rise. Even with the recession, the world still needs influencers. Mr Dayri predicts that brands will continue to invest in influencer marketing in 2023 despite the economic downturn and revised marketing budgets. Influencer partnerships help reduce overall marketing costs and allow businesses to build more brand awareness.
Lagos Fire Service Receives 17 Fire Outbreak Calls in One Day
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service has disclosed that it received it recently received no fewer than 17 fire outbreak calls from residents of the metropolis.
In a statement issued on Monday, the agency, which described this as alarming, warned members of the general public, particularly motorists, to desist from indiscriminate storage of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, in inappropriate places.
Fuel queues have resurfaced in the state since last week, and at the moment, the product is sold in jerry cans along the road. This has also caused some consumers to embark on panic buying, with the products stored in resident areas.
But the head of the Lagos state fire service, Mrs Margaret Adeseye, has cautioned members of the public to be cautious, noting that the state has so far recorded 129 emergency calls on fire outbreaks in November, with 17 calls received in a day recently.
She noted that since the commencement of the recent fuel scarcity, some people had devised illegal means of storing the product in unsuitable places, such as in vehicles, under staircases at home or within the premises of their working places, stressing that all these have contributed to the increase in the number of fire outbreaks.
Mrs Adeseye reiterated that the state government places a high premium on the safety of the lives and properties of the citizenry; therefore, the nonchalant attitude of the general public to the basic principle of safety is of great concern to the present administration as the total number of emergency calls in November is already much higher than the 82 recorded in October 2022.
“The high figure of 129 fire outbreaks in less than a month is worrisome. However, we are extending our safety enlightenment campaigns to all local government areas, hospitals, schools and the grassroots, all in an effort to curb the tide of fire incidents and related emergencies,” she stated.
According to her, fuel scarcity is not an excuse for the inappropriate storage of fuel to the detriment of the lives and properties of residents, imploring members of the public to avoid using jerry cans that have been used for petrol to store kerosene and any other flammable liquids. She also advised motorists, particularly commercial vehicle operators, not to store petrol in the boots of their cars and buses.
The firefighter urged landlords and tenants to be observant and prevent inappropriate storage of fuel in and around their homes while enjoining operators of filling stations to stop the practice of dispensing fuel in polythene bags while allowing customers to cluster around petrol dispensing pumps to avoid scuffle that can lead to fire outbreaks.
Mrs Adeseye, therefore, urged residents to call the toll-free emergency numbers 767 or 112 or the Lagos Fire Service Hotline: 08033235891 to report an outbreak of fire for a prompt response.
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