By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A businessman identified as Mr Afam Mallinson Emmanuel Ukatu has been arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) over the N3 billion tramadol deal involving the suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Mr Abba Kyari.
Mr Kyari and his team, the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) were accused of being involved in the sale of narcotics.
In a statement issued on Monday by the NDLEA’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Mr Femi Babafemi, it was alleged that Mr Ukatu was the billionaire drug baron behind the N3billion tramadol deal.
According to the statement, after months of surveillance and evading arrest, Mr Ukatu, who is Chairman of Mallinson Group of Companies, was eventually grabbed onboard a flight to Abuja at the MM2 terminal of the Lagos airport, Ikeja on Wednesday, April 13, 2022.
The anti-drug agency claimed that the suspect has been a major importer of large consignments of different brands and high dosages of Tramadol Hydrochloride, ranging from 120mg, 200mg, 225mg and 250mg, all of which are illicit.
He owns pharmaceutical and plastic manufacturing companies, which he used as a cover to import illicit drugs into Nigeria in addition to operating 103 bank accounts, most of which are used to allegedly launder money.
The NDLEA said Mr Ukatu came under watch last year after five cartons of Tramadol 225mg were seized from his staff on May 4, 2021, when he sent them to sell to undercover police officers (unknown to Ukatu) from the then Kyari-led IRT of the Nigeria Police, Ikeja Lagos. The price of a carton of Tramadol was negotiated at N17 million each as against the then black market value that ranged between N18 million and N20 million a carton in Lagos.
After the arrest of the staff of the Mallinson Chairman: Pius Enidom and Sunday Ibekwete, Mr Kyari’s men were then led by the suspects to Mallinson’s warehouse at Ojota in Lagos where 197 additional Cartons of Tramadol 225mg were seized by the IRT Team. The monetary value of the 202 cartons of Tramadol seized from Mallinson in one day was over N3 billion.
Three weeks after the seizure, the IRT team transferred only 12 cartons of the Tramadol with one truck and a suspect to the Lagos Command of the NDLEA, leaving 190 cartons unaccounted for.
After over eight months of following the lead, anti-narcotic officers of the agency eventually arrested Mr Ukatu at the Lagos airport about two weeks ago.
Mr Kyari and four top members of his team are already facing trial for a different but similar offence at a Federal High Court in Abuja.
Nigerians Groan in Darkness as National Grid Collapses
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Many Nigerians have again been thrown in darkness as the national grid has collapsed.
The major distribution companies (DisCos) operating in the country confirmed this development to their customers on Monday.
One of them, Ikeja Electric Plc, sent a message to customers in its coverage area that the national grid collapse happened a few minutes before 11 am today.
“This is to inform you that the outage you are currently experiencing is due to the system collapse of the national grid, which occurred earlier today at 10:50hrs.
“This has affected the Transmission Stations within our network and resulted in the loss of power supply to our customers.
“Kindly bear with us as we await the restoration of the grid. Thank you for your understanding,” the notice from Ikeja Electric stated.
Another operator, Eko Electricity Distribution Company, in a message, informed its customers that, “We regret to inform you of a system collapse on the national grid at precisely 10:52 am.
“Presently, all our injection substations are out of supply.
“We are working with our TCN partners to restore supply as soon as possible. We apologise for the inconvenience.”
On its part, Kaduna Electric said, “We regret to inform you that the power outage being experienced in our franchise states is due to system collapse of the national grid.
The collapse occurred at about 11.07 am, hence, the loss of supply on all our outgoing feeders.
“The power supply shall be restored as soon as the national grip is powered back. Our sincere apologies for the inconvenience.”
Crown Flour Facilitates Baking Training for Women
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Some women have undergone baking training in Lagos sponsored by the flour milling subsidiary of Olam Agri, Crown Flour Mill Limited.
The beneficiaries, who were presented with the National Business and Technical Examinations Board (NABTEB) examination certificates on Friday, September 23, 2022, were chosen through the empowerment initiative of the flour mills tagged Crown Flour Angels (CFA).
The company explained that skills obtained by the women would offer them the opportunity to take up employment in the hospitality sector, even as a good number of them are expected to set up their baking outfits.
“We are committed to enriching the lives of the people across our operating market by providing nutritious, safe and affordable food for the population as well as enabling the actualisation of the fine aspirations of the individuals within the population by supporting the economic development agenda of the government.
“The Crown Flour Angels initiative is one of the valuable levers we are pulling continuously to deliver on the Seeds for the Future programme, our signature value chain development initiative that focuses on supporting farming communities, enabling wider education and skill development for young people, empowering indigent women and promoting health and nutrition across the country,” the Country Head for Olam Agri Nigeria, Mr Ashish Pande, said.
He congratulated the women and urged them to make the best use of the skills they had acquired at the baking academy.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Mrs Cecilia Bolaji Dada, the special guest at the event and presented the certificates to the women, commended CFM for its economic development focus and strong support for women.
“The Lagos State Government is aware of the prevailing economic situation and has been initiating valuable schemes that focus on empowering the active segment to boost their productivity and incomes levels.
“The CFM Crown Flour Angels Initiative would add to the various poverty alleviation and empowerment efforts embarked on by the administration of our hardworking Governor, His Excellency Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. On this note, I thank CFM for being a worthy partner of our dear state,” she said.
Mrs Bola Adeniji, the General Manager/Head of Marketing, CFM, highlighted the importance of the CFA initiative. She explained that the contribution of women to the growth of developing nations is receiving growing attention and that research has shown that a 1% increase in women’s contribution to an economy often raises the level of GDP by 58.4%.
On behalf of the beneficiaries of the initiative, Ms Samuel Oluwaseun Oluwatosin, also a participant in the training scheme, appreciated the efforts of the agribusiness.
She said the training they received would economically uplift them and their families and reinvigorate a desire to contribute to the nation’s economy positively.
A three-day accelerated bakers’ training was organised in Lagos to kick-start the project. The training was facilitated by an International Cake Exploration Société (ICES) expert, amongst others. So far, CFM has trained over 120 ICES women, mainly selected from the lower rung of the socioeconomic spectrum.
NDLEA Arrests Freight Agents With Cannabis Concealed in Cereal Packs
By Adedapo Adesanya
Two freight agents have been arrested by officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos, over attempts to smuggle 26.20kg cannabis concealed in cereal packs through the SAHCO shed for export to Dubai, UAE.
The consignment was abandoned at the shed before the airport security transferred it to NDLEA. Further investigation by the agency led to the arrest of Mr Olatunbosun Damilola Abimbola, 34, who works at Ashadox Logistics Services, a cargo company, on Friday, September 23.
He reportedly confessed to the crime but stated that he acted on the instructions of his Managing Director, Mr Oloyede Shakiru Abiola, who was promptly arrested.
The 40-year-old indigene of Ibadan West Local Government Area of Oyo State stated that due to the strict security measures put in place by the NDLEA, he was forced to abandon the cargo to avoid being detected.
In a statement on Sunday, NDLEA spokesman, Mr Femi Babafemi, also disclosed that a 75-year-old grandfather, Mr Usman Bokina Bajama (alias Clemen), was apprehended by the agency as part of 22 suspects arrested in operations across seven states, during which over one million capsules of banned new psychoactive substances were seized.
According to him, over one million bottles/capsules of banned psychoactive substances, Akuskura and tramadol, as well as 2,536 kilograms of cannabis, were taken hold of, adding that over 10 hectares of farms where these substances were being cultivated have been destroyed in Edo and Adamawa.
The septuagenarian was arrested in the early hours of Tuesday, September 20, at Anguwan Sate, Mararraban Tola, Mayo Belwa council area of Adamawa, where he had a cannabis plantation from where 49kg of the illicit substance was recovered.
Meanwhile, in Kwara, at least 19,878 bottles of Akuskura were intercepted by NDLEA operatives along the Ilorin-Jebba highway on Wednesday, September 21 and two suspects: Mr Oladokun Oluwaseun, 49, and Mr Ibrahim Jimoh, 27, arrested.
They claimed the consignment packed in 35 jumbo sacks was loaded in Ibadan, Oyo state, and meant for distribution in Jos, Plateau state. Earlier, two suspects: Mr Ukoro Ifeanyi, 46, and Mr Idowu Toyosi, 20, were arrested with 2,290 capsules of tramadol and 100 bottles of codeine-based syrup at Mararaba park, Ilorin.
According to the NDLEA spokesman, the drugs were brought in from Onitsha, Anambra state.
NDLEA operatives in Lagos, while acting on credible intelligence, intercepted a Volvo truck loaded with 2,146 kilograms of cannabis in the Sangotedo area of Ajah.
Three suspects, Mr Abdulazeez Rasheed; Mr Afeez Raheem and Mr Moshood Suleiman, were arrested.
At least 979,119 capsules of expired pregabalin weighing 733kg were recovered from Musbahu Ya’u, 28, and five others in the Dansarai area of Kano, while in Enugu, 197.8kg of cannabis was recovered in a store at new market, Enugu on Tuesday, September 20.
Similarly, 117.7kg of the psychoactive substance was intercepted along the Okene-Abuja expressway in a truck coming from Lagos to Abuja.
In Edo State, six cannabis farmers were arrested when NDLEA operatives stormed their farms at Chigbite, Utese forest in Ovia North East LGA and Ekudo forest, Uhunmonde LGA, where over 10 hectares of cannabis plantation were destroyed and more than 193kg of the processed illicit substance seized.
Those arrested include Mr David Hanson; Mr Ufuoma Progress; Mr Marvelous Armstrong; Mr Marvelous Efe; Mr Joshua Abubakar and Mr Elijah Abubakar.
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