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NDLEA destroys cocaine worth N195 billion in Lagos

Nigeria’s anti-narcotics agency, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), has destroyed over N194 billion worth of cocaine was recovered in what it called “the biggest singular cocaine seizure” in its history.

The illicit drugs were set ablaze at the NDLEA Seme Special Area Command compound at Bereko, Badagry area of Lagos on Tuesday.

On 18 September, officials of the agency busted a major warehouse at Solebo Estate in the Ikorodu area of the state where over N194,775,000,000 billion worth of crack in street value were seized.

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The decision to destroy the bulk of the seizure follows a court order obtained by the agency from a high court in Lagos, the agency’s boss, Buba Marwa, said.

Marwa was represented by Sunday Mbona, the agency’s director, prosecution and legal service.

Out of the 1.8-ton seizure, 1,828 blocks of cocaine were set ablaze while the remnants were secured for the purpose of prosecution of the suspects.

The five suspects were brought to the scene as witnesses and made to sign the certificate of destruction.

Buba said that usually “public destruction” of seized illicit drugs is conducted at the end of court prosecution, however, this “routine exercise” is a “special case.”

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“In the meantime, the Agency is proceeding with the prosecution of those arrested in connection with this consignment,” Mr Marwa said.

“On this, the public can rest assured that NDLEA shall pursue the trial to a logical conclusion. Since January 25, 2021, when we commenced our offensive action against drug traffickers, the Agency has secured record convictions.

“Presently, 2,904 drug offenders are serving various jail terms, while other cases are ongoing in court, which we are confident will end in positive results too.”

He said the destruction is a “message to drug cartels that their investments in the illicit drug trade will go up in smoke as you are about to witness while they also risk losing their freedom because the present NDLEA is committed to arresting, prosecuting and ensuring the conviction of those involved in illicit drugs.

“That is not all, we now also go after their assets acquired with the proceeds of the criminal trade. In the past 20 months, we have arrested and jailed drug offenders who have forfeited 249 luxury cars and 600 bank accounts blocked.

Nigeria has witnessed a series of drug busts and made high-profile arrests including the arrest of supercop Abba Kyari.

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