By Adedapo Adesanya
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) said it intercepted various drugs with a cumulative weight of about 153,256.876 kilograms within the last week.
The agency also disclosed that it arrested 663 suspects in various states within the same period in connection with the narcotics.
In a statement issued by the NDLEA’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Mr Femi Babafemi, on Sunday in Abuja, it was stated that among the 663 suspects arrested were a youth corps member, police officer and a soldier, all suspected to be fake.
He said that NDLEA operatives had raided notorious drug joints in Lagos, Abuja, Benue and other parts of the country in the last week.
According to him, the raid led to the discovery of assorted illicit drugs weighing more than 153,256.876 kilograms, which were either destroyed or seized.
“In Lagos, the notorious drug haven, Akala in Mushin area, was on Friday, October 15, raided by a combined team of 70 NDLEA operatives and 30 soldiers, in a joint operation codenamed Operation Still Waters.
“Not less than 27 suspects were arrested, while various drugs such as cocaine, Tramadol, Rohypnol and cannabis Sativa, with a cumulative weight of 2,463.876 kg, were seized.
“A day earlier, operatives also raided drug joints in Ojo and Maryland areas of the state (Lagos), where six persons were arrested and different quantities of drugs seized.
“This followed another raid of Alhaji Lasisi street, Idioro, Mushin, as well as Okota in Oshodi-Isolo area during which 12 suspects were arrested and over 165kg of assorted illicit drugs recovered,” he said.
The NDLEA spokesperson said that operatives on Friday, October 15 also intercepted one Williams Esuabom along Ore-Shagamu expressway, Ogun State, with 562.5kg cannabis being conveyed in a Toyota Sienna bus.
He said that narcotic officers in a joint operation with soldiers, also raided Lafia park, Benue State, where six suspects, including a youth corps member, Paul Ndubuisi, were arrested with different quantities of drugs.
“This came on the heels of the arrest of a suspected fake soldier Abel John, along Apir-Makurdi-Aliade road, with 3.5 kg of cannabis on Wednesday, Oct. 13,” he said.
Mr Babafemi said that a suspected fake Assistant Superintendent of Police Joshua Yusuf, who claimed to be serving in Kano, was arrested along Gwagwalada expressway while conveying 45.5kg of Cannabis.
“Three suspects were arrested during raids on Dabba and Luku village, Kaiama Local Government Area (LGA) of Kwara State, where over 64kg drugs were recovered on Wednesday, Oct. 13.
“In Ekiti State, NDLEA operatives in their numbers stormed the forest reserve along Uso Road, Ise-Orun LGA.
“They destroyed over 150,000 kilograms of cannabis being harvested on 40 hectares of land during an operation that lasted more than three days.
“The operation, which began on Tuesday, October 12, continued till Sunday, October 17,” he said.
The spokesperson said that no fewer than 615 suspects were arrested and illicit drugs, with a total weight of 3394.2031 kilograms, recovered in raids across other states.
Speaking on the operations, the Chairman, NDLEA, Mr Buba Marwa, commended the officers and men of the Lagos State Command and their counterparts in Benue, FCT, Ogun, Ekiti and other parts of the country.
Mr Marwa commended them for their resilience and commitment to the war against illicit substances, charging them not to rest on their oars.
He called for continued collaboration between the agency and other stakeholders, especially the armed forces and other law enforcement agencies.
We’re Yet to Receive Formal Report of Sylvester Oromoni’s Death—Police
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Lagos State Police Command on Saturday night said it was yet to receive a formal report of the death of one Sylvester Oromoni, a 12-year-old student of Dowen College, Lekki, Lagos.
The death of Master Oromoni has been trending online for the past few days and the video of his painful death sparked reactions after it was reported that he was bullied in school and allegedly forced to swallow substances believed to have eventually killed.
The incident forced the Lagos State government to shut down the school indefinitely for investigation.
On Saturday night, the spokesman for the Lagos Police Command, Mr Adekunle Ajisebutu, a chief superintendent police (CSP), said though none of the parents or the school has formally filed a report on the matter, the command has swung into action to get to the root of the matter.
According to him, “the Commissioner of Police, upon hearing about it instantly, directed the Divisional Police Officer, Maroko Division under whose jurisdiction the place of incident is to immediately visit the school to carry out an initial investigation into the incident.”
“This directive has been carried out as an investigation into the case has since commenced. However, in view of the seriousness of the case, the Homicide Section of the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, has also been directed to take over the investigation of the case immediately,” he added.
“Members of the public, particularly the deceased’s bereaved parents, friends and relatives, are assured that the Lagos State Police Command has deployed all available human and material resources at its disposal to unravel the circumstances surrounding the sad and unfortunate incident,” the police image-maker for the command stated.
“While a diligent investigation is ongoing, members of the public are advised against taking the law into their own hands. They are also enjoined to refrain from comments that could jeopardize the investigation,” he appealed.
Concluding, Mr Ajisebutu said, “The Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu, while commiserating with the bereaved family, has equally assured that the outcome of police investigation would be made public in due course.”
Adisa Receives Media Friendly State Lawmaker Award
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
For his contributions to the infrastructural development of his constituency and outstanding achievements as a lawmaker, the member representing Afijio constituency in the Oyo State House of Assembly, Mr Seyi Adisa, has been given the Media Friendly State Lawmaker Award.
The award was conferred on the state legislator by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State Council during its press week at the Press Centre, Iyaganku, Ibadan.
Chairman of the NUJ Oyo chapter, Mr Demola Babalola, disclosed that the award was in recognition of Mr Adisa’s outstanding performance as a lawmaker, who has excelled in his calling as well contributed to the development of society.
He said his contributions to the development of his people, communities in his constituency and his senatorial district of Oyo North are laudable.
“You are given this special award of exemplary performance and also awarded as the Media-Friendly State Lawmaker of the Year in Oyo state because we believe you deserve it,” he said.
While receiving the award, Mr Adisa declared his appreciation of the gesture, saying “big thanks to the Oyo State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) for this special recognition and Award of Exemplary Performance that also doubled as an Award for the Media-Friendly State Lawmaker of the Year.
“I do not take this for granted.”
We Will Defend Free Press in Nigeria—US Government Assures
By Adedapo Adesanya
The United States government has promised to do everything possible to defend free press in Nigeria, which it said remains vital to democracy and good governance.
The American government expressed this with a partnership, through its Embassy, with the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) for the first of the six media-focused Town Halls and Workshops in Lagos on Thursday.
The event will also take place across the country in the next several months.
The capacity-building programme will provide a forum for over 200 participating Nigerian editors and leaders of the independent press to discuss and share best practices and to also hear from the United States government.
Experts on topics such as journalistic standards, identifying bias, and conducting fact-based investigative reporting to better inform the Nigerian public will be provided.
Delivering keynote remarks at the opening programme in Lagos, the US Ambassador, Mrs Mary Beth Leonard discussed the challenges faced by Nigeria and other democracies across the world and highlighted democracy’s greatest strength: the ability to improve upon and reinvent itself.
She quipped that when belief in democracy, good governance and elections are restored, Nigerians will want to be a part of that system and will defend it.
Ambassador Leonard noted, “Our hope is that in this forum today is that you will lead and serve as catalysts for further discussions on countering disinformation; increasing transparency; solution building; and encouraging media literacy and their contribution to a democracy that is accountable to its people.”
The US government is committed to initiatives that build media capacity in Nigeria, she added.
According to her, for years, the US Mission has funded partnerships that promote Nigeria’s democratic governance, unity and stability by improving government transparency and accountability, the rule of law, free and professional media, as well as civil society capacity and engagement.
On his part, the General Secretary of NGE, Mr Iyobosa Uwugiaren, said, “At the end of the project, we expect to see a pool of Nigerian editors, senior journalists and media managers, who will be galvanised and committed to the highest ethical standard and to take robust actions towards this.
“Editors who will be committed to the promotion and protection of the right to an independent press, freedom of expression and deepening democratic space; and constantly projecting issue-based governance in defence of the mass of the Nigerian people.”
The Town Halls and editor workshops are supported through a grant from the US Embassy’s Public Affairs Section in Abuja to the NGE.
In addition to Lagos, the programmes will take place in Kano in January 2022, then Yola, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Enugu will follow in subsequent months.
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