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NDLEA Detains 12 Apapa Dockworkers for Cocaine Shipment

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apapa Dockworkers

By Adedapo Adesanya

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) says it has 12 dockworkers at the Apapa seaport in its custody in Lagos because of their alleged significant links to the importation of 32.9 kilograms of cocaine worth over N9.5 billion in street value.

According to a statement, the Federal High Court in Lagos had granted an application by the agency for the interim attachment of a vessel MV Chayanee Naree used to import the drug into Nigeria through the Apapa seaport.

Aside from the attachment order, the court also granted NDLEA’s request to detain the Master of the ship, Mr Tanahan Krilerk and 21 foreign crew members as well as the dockworkers arrested in connection with the case.

The anti-narcotic agency had on October 13 intercepted the ship at the Apapa seaport following intelligence from international partners and support from other security forces such as the Nigerian Navy, Customs, DSS and the police.

A thorough search of the ship led to the recovery of 30 parcels containing cocaine, which weighed 32.9kg, the statement signed by NDLEA spokesperson Mr Femi Babafemi said.

The application in suit no: FHC/L/CS/1518/2021, which was filed by the agency’s Director of Prosecution and Legal Services, Mr Joseph Nbone Sunday on Thursday, October 28 was granted the following day Friday 29th October by Honourable Justice A.O. Awogboro.

An application to renew the remand order was also filed on Friday, November 12, because of the volume of evidence coming out from the cooperation of the suspects in custody.

The NDLEA said its clarification became necessary following claims by the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria that some of its members are being detained unlawfully by the Agency.

Of the total number of 18 dockworkers initially being interviewed by operatives, six of them with no sufficient evidence linking them to the crime had been released while 12 others with significant links are cooperating with the ongoing investigation.

In line with the intelligence available to the Agency, there is a syndicate of dockworkers, crew members with apparent international conspirators who work in synergy to traffic in the illicit substances, the NDLEA said.

The agency added that while the substances are concealed in the shipment from the originating Port, the dockworkers assist to pick up the illicit consignment for onward delivery to the Nigerian drug barons.

“In the case of a criminal investigation of this magnitude, it is lawful and expedient to investigate those within the purview of the Agency’s reasonable suspicion and those who do not have any serious involvement are let go,” the NDLEA statement said.

“Already, two dockworkers are now on the run, after absconding from their place of work, since the beginning of the investigation.

“For the avoidance of doubt, all the Agency’s actions are guided by international best practices and in line with the Global Maritime Standard Operational Procedure on arrest, seizure and detention of Vessels and crew members,” it added.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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LASEMA Combs Collapsed Lagos Island Building for Survivors

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collapsed Lagos Island Building

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) has commenced search operations in the 3-storey building that collapsed on Saturday in Lagos Island.

The agency is combing the debris of the property for survivors. Already, two adult males have been rescued in the rubbles of the collapsed Lagos Island building located at 4, Alayaki Lane, Lagos Island.

The house caved in today during the heavy rainfall and trapped some occupants.

The two rescued persons have been given pre-medical treatment by the agency’s paramedics, while two corpses recovered from the debris have been handed over to the State Environmental Health Monitoring Unit (SEHMU) for onward transfer to the morgue.

A statement signed by the Permanent Secretary LASEMA, Dr Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, claimed that the building was already in violation of safety protocols and had been captured by the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LASBCA) District Office and served with all statutory notices, sealed at District and Central Enforcement Level, but the developer had continued clandestine operations mostly at nights and at weekends.

It was gathered that Dr Oke-Osanyintolu is in charge of the search and rescue operations, which are still ongoing as an unconfirmed number of people are trapped in the rubbles.

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IPMAN May Halt Fuel Distribution to Sokoto, Kebbi, Others

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Supply of Fuel

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Gusau Depot, has threatened to stop transporting petroleum products within Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and parts of Katsina state.

According to the IPMAN’s Zonal Chairman, Mr Yahya Kamba, the threat came following the federal government’s failure to settle its N40 billion outstanding payment to IPMAN members.

According to Mr Kamba, the payment is based on importation and transportation claims of up to 11 months.

He said the federal government has reneged on the agreement reached with the association.

“It is not a subsidy,” Mr Kamba said, explaining that. “It is money that we marketers contributed. We have to pay a certain amount for every litre we purchase from the government. Just for the country to have a uniform pump price.”

“We contributed this money just the way pensioners contribute their own. So, there is no reason anyone can give us to say they have no money. We are asking for our own contribution.

“Our arrangement is for the Ministry to pay us every week; when you transport this product, you are supposed to be paid within a week; but now we are counting months. We have counted up to 11 months. The payment has stopped since June 2021,” he added.

Amid the recent fuel shortage that rocked Abuja, the marketers had claimed that there was no money to buy the product until the federal government pays the claims and also assist in allocating a cargo of AGO to hasten loading from various loading depots.

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EFCC Questions Ex-NDDC Boss Nsima Ekere Over N47bn Fraud

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Nsima Ekere

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr Nsima Ekere, has been grilled by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The former NDDC boss was at the Lagos office of the agency on Wednesday to honour an invitation to him to answer questions surrounding an alleged fraud to the tune of N47 billion.

In 2016, a year after losing the governorship primary election of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State to Governor Udom Emmanuel, he was appointed as the MD of the commission.

He left office in 2018 to concentrate on his ambition to rule his home state and contested the gubernatorial poll in 2019 under the All Progressives Congress (APC) and lost again to Mr Emmanuel.

In 2019, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a forensic audit of the NDDC from 2001 to 2019 and the report of the exercise, according to the former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Godswill Akpabio, said several frauds were uncovered.

The EFCC, reports said, has been trailing Mr Ekere and yesterday, he turned himself in and he was questioned on the allegations of contract inflation and award of fictitious contracts while in office.

This development is coming two days after the anti-money laundering organisation arrested the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Ahmed Idris, over allegations of diversion of N80 billion.

He was suspended yesterday by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainah Ahmed, to enable a transparent investigation into the matter.

Also, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mrs Patricia Etteh, was apprehended on Tuesday by the agency over allegations of diversion of funds for projects.

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