By Adedapo Adesanya
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has revealed that two suspected drug traffickers, Mr Elvis Uche Iro, 53, and Mr Uwaezuoke Ikenna Christian, 42, have excreted a total of 165 wraps of cocaine.
This followed their arrest at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja by operatives of the anti-drug trafficking agency.
They allegedly excreted the drugs while under observation in the agency’s custody, according to a statement from NDLEA spokesman, Mr Femi Babafemi, in a statement on Sunday.
The 53-year-old Elvis, who is a father of four children, hails from Abiriba, Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia state. He was arrested on Saturday, March 19 upon his arrival on board an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis-Ababa for ingesting 65 pellets of cocaine weighing 1.376kg.
During the preliminary interview, he claimed is an interior decorator but had to go into drug trafficking because he needed money to start a coffee business, take care of his family and stock his newly acquired shop with curtain materials/accessories in Lagos. He said he would have been paid $1,000 on the successful delivery of the drug in Abuja.
Another passenger on the same flight, 42-year-old Mr Uwaezuoke Ikenna Christian was also arrested on arrival for ingesting 100 pellets of cocaine with a total weight of 2.243kg. Mr Ikenna, who hails from Ojoto, Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra state, claims he is a businessman dealing in babywear before venturing into drug trafficking.
He said he travelled to Addis Ababa on Thursday, March 17 to buy the drug for $10,000 and returned on Saturday, March 19 when he was arrested. He said he sold his land in his village and took loans from friends to be able to raise money to buy the drug.
He claimed he had to go into drugs to raise money for his business after being duped $15,000 by his friend who lives in China.
In a related development, narcotic officers of the Directorate of Operation and General Investigation, DOGI, have intercepted substantial quantities of Methamphetamine, Cocaine, and Cannabis sativa packaged for export to Australia, China, Qatar, Ireland, and Thailand through some courier companies in Lagos.
While 2.9kg of Methamphetamine in packs of black soup and toner machine heading to Australia and Qatar was intercepted; 600grams of Cocaine concealed in school certificates and file folders going to Australia and Thailand were equally seized.
No less than 25.5kg cannabis concealed in packs of Dudu Osun soap and tins of palm fruit extracts (banga) heading to China and Ireland was also seized at a courier company in Lagos.
Meanwhile, 2,293.324 kilograms of assorted illicit drugs and seven hundred and ninety-one thousand, one hundred Naira (N791, 100. 00) were recovered in major raids by operatives in Ogun, Rivers, and Enugu State in the past week.
In Rivers, operatives on Thursday 24th March raided the notorious Abuja Water Front of Port Harcourt City following information provided by arrested suspects, on their sources of supply.
A total of three suspects: Mr Larry Samuel; Mr Mark James and Miss Happiness Joseph were arrested at the drug hub with 339.524kg of Cannabis Sativa, Methamphetamine and Tramadol seized and N791, 100.00 cash recovered from them while another drug dealer in the area Uduak Paul Emmanuel remains at large.
In Ogun, a 30-year-old lady, Mrs Peace Egidigbo, was arrested with 1863kg of Cannabis Sativa in Mowe, Obafemi/Owode LGA on Wednesday 23rd March, while no less than 150 blocks of cannabis weighing 90.800kg were seized from the cargo compartment of a bus owned by a transport company along Orji River via Onitsha Express Road, Enugu State.
On his part, the Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Mr Mohamed Buba Marwa, in his reaction, commended the officers and men of NAIA, DOGI, Rivers, Ogun, and Enugu commands of the agency for their diligence and vigilance.
He also charged them to always strive to raise the bar in their operational feats.
SweepSouth to Battle Fichaya, Others for Market Share in Nigeria
By Adedapo Adesanya
Johannesburg-based SweepSouth, the home cleaning service startup that was launched in 2014, is looking to hijack some customers from its competitors in Nigeria by offering quality services.
SweepSouth allows people to book home cleaning services at affordable prices and connects them with cleaners they call SweepStars, who are carefully vetted and are professionals with extensive experience in home cleaning.
Traditional domestic service agencies in Nigeria are mostly informal, and people who use these cleaners often have to find them by asking around their neighbourhood but the problem with this approach is that it is difficult to know if the cleaner is experienced.
Things are about to change as SweepSouth’s value proposition will help its customers find a cleaner in minutes and will deliver the best services.
The startup’s expansion in Nigeria is led by its new country manager, Ms Awazi Angbalaga, an operator who has worked across industries in the past eight years.
Ms Angbalaga noted that SweepSouth has been test-running its services in Nigeria for the last two months and that the uptake has been exciting.
“Although we’ve largely been testing out our service here, we have already had our first 300 bookings, and the feedback we’ve received backs our belief that our proposition is compelling to Nigerians. While we’re growing our bookings every week, our focus continues to be providing the best service to our customers,” she said.
At the moment, SweepSouth charges a base fee of N3,400 ($8) for cleaning a one-bedroom apartment and around N7,500 ($18) for cleaning a 3-bedroom apartment. The pricing is at par with what is obtainable with traditional domestic service agencies, which is important for a service which is aiming for mass-market adoption.
But SweepSouth will face competition from those traditional domestic service agencies and newer startups such as Fichaya which are now targeting Nigeria’s young working-class population.
Remote work and a growing class of young tech workers, who are willing to pay gig workers for services that make their lives easier, are powering the home services industry. Other startups in this space even offer home-cooked meals and laundry.
To break into the market, SweepSouth may also look to provide additional services such as its SweepSouth Connect, which links people with a wide range of professional artisans. SweepSouth Connect is already available in Kenya and South Africa.
The startup did not confirm if it will launch its Connect service in Nigeria but it stressed that for now, the focus is to reach mass adoption and provide exceptional service to customers.
At the moment, customers can only make bookings from the SweepSouth Nigeria website, but the startup shared that it will launch its app this month. The app will improve customer experience across the entire process from booking to leaving reviews for the SweepStars they’re matched with.
Buhari Loses Suit to Challenge Electoral Act at Supreme Court
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Supreme Court has struck out a suit filed by President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Abubakar Malami, challenging Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act.
On Friday, the case was expunged on the grounds that it lacks the jurisdiction to entertain it and is an abuse of the court process.
A notice for the judgment delivery was served on President Buhari and the National Assembly on Thursday, inviting them to appear before the court today for the judgment.
The President and the Minister of Justice had filed a suit at the Supreme Court, seeking an interpretation of the controversial clause in the Electoral Amendment Act 2022.
In the suit filed on April 29, President Buhari and Mr Malami, who are the plaintiffs, listed the National Assembly as the sole defendant.
There have been several debates regarding Section 84 (12) of the amended Electoral Act 2022 which was assented to in February.
Upon assenting to the act, President Buhari had asked the National Assembly to delete the contended clause, however, the parliament declined the president’s request.
Section 84 (12) of the legislation holds that “no political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the convention or congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.”
In their suit marked SC/CV/504/2022 and filed on April 29, 2022, President Buhari and Mr Malami sought an order of the apex court to strike out the section of the Electoral Act, which they argue was inconsistent with the nation’s constitution.
According to the court document, the plaintiffs contend that the Section 84(12) of the Electoral (Amendment) Act, 2022 is inconsistent with the provisions of sections 42, 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192 and 196 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended), as well Article 2 of the African Charter on Human and People and Peoples Rights.
The plaintiffs further contended that the constitution already makes provisions for qualification and disqualification for the offices of the President and Vice President, Governor and Deputy Governor, Senate and House of Representatives, House of Assembly, Ministers, Commissioners, and Special Advisers.
They urged the Supreme Court to make: “A declaration that the joint and or combined reading of section 65, 66, 106, 107, 131, 137, 147, 151, 177, 182, 192 and 196 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended), the provision of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022 which also ignores Section 84(3) of the same Act, is an additional qualifying and/or disqualifying factors for the National Assembly, House of Assembly, Gubernatorial and Presidential elections as enshrined in the said constitution, hence unconstitutional, unlawful, null and void”.
However, in its decision on Friday, the Supreme Court held that President Buhari, having assented to the bill on February 25 2022, cannot turn around to challenge the same act.
In a unanimous judgement delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim, the court said allowing the suit to have its way will amount to approbating and reprobating at the same time and no court of law shall allow that.
The apex court unanimously agreed that President Buhari lacked the jurisdiction to bring the suit before it because of the nature of the reliefs sought.
London Police Arrest Ekweremadu, Wife Over Organ Harvesting
By Adedapo Adesanya
The London Metropolitan Police has announced that it arrested a Nigerian national, Mr Ike Ekweremadu, and his wife, Mrs Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, for allegedly conspiring to bring a child to the United Kingdom for organ harvesting.
In a statement on its website, the Met Police wrote that “Beatrice Nwanneka Ekweremadu, 55 (10.9.66) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate the travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.
While the statement did not, however, give further details about the suspects, the age and description given match that of the former Deputy Senate President and his wife.
“Ike Ekweremadu, 60 (12.05.62) of Nigeria is charged with conspiracy to arrange/facilitate [the] travel of another person with a view to exploitation, namely organ harvesting.”
As at press time, neither Mr Ekweremadu nor his aides have issued a comment about the development.
But the police added that “both [have] been remanded in custody and will appear at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court later today.
“The investigation was launched after detectives were alerted to potential offences under modern slavery legislation in May 2022.
“A child has been safeguarded and we are working closely with partners on continued support. As criminal proceedings are now underway we will not be providing further details.”
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