Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd) has narrated illicit drugs worth N6 billion was intercepted at Apapa port, in Lagos State.
According to a statement by the agency’s spokesperson, the NDLEA chairman disclosed this at a pressure conference on Wednesday, adding that the container came from the Middle East.
He said the agency had received intel from its international partners on the shipment of narcotics through the Apapa port.
Marwa said the drug, known as Captagon, has been linked to terrorist groups in the Middle East.
He said: “Sometime in March 2021, we received intel from our international partners on the shipment of illicit narcotics to Nigeria from the Middle East through the Apapa port. The container passed through three countries and was transloaded in a North African country, but we kept track of it along with our partners.
“We made the first attempt to examine the container on Thursday, August 26, 2021, and what we found inside the container were three (3) pieces of marble polishing machines, otherwise called sanders.
“The following day, Thursday, September 2, the other two machines were dismantled, and in all, a total of 451,807 tablets, weighing 74.119 kilograms, were discovered hidden inside their rotor coils.
“Going by the street value of about $25 per tablet, the importer would have raised $11.3 million, which is equivalent to N6 billion.
“Imagine the impact of this drug in the hands of criminal gangs or a fraction of the profit from its sale being used to fuel criminalities across the country, we can think of our worst-case scenarios and they will still be farther from the repercussions that could be unleashed on the country.
“It may interest you to know that, as far as we know, this is the first time this drug is being brought into any African country South of the Sahara. This tiny, highly addictive pill, widely available across the Middle East, produces a euphoric intensity in users, allowing them to stay awake for days, making them fearless, predisposes them to reckless action that puts the lives of people around them in jeopardy.
“What should give any discerning Nigerian a nightmare concerning this drug is the fact that its production and sale is controlled by militias and large criminal groups in the Middle East. And beyond any doubt, Captagon has been linked to the escalation of the Syrian Civil War.”
Marwa added:“A lot of seizures have been made since 2017, mostly in the Arabian Peninsula, and in Italy and Turkey, and the point of origination, almost all the time, were traced back to Syria and Lebanon. This gave rise to the theory that ISIS is behind the production and sale of Captagon as a means of generating funds for weapons and combatants, and for use as a stimulant to keep them fighting.
“Lest we forget, Captagon was the name of the drug found on the phone of the French-Tunisian terrorist who killed 84 civilians in France on Bastille Day in 2016. That is the drug we have on our hands now. If these facts are not grim enough, we should all remember a lesson from history, when in World War II, Nazi Germany wreaked havoc across Europe with chemically-enhanced soldiers that the combined forces of Europe could not tame.”
Marwa promised Nigerians that the agency would continue to work hard to block the availability of illicit drugs across the country.