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14.07.2023 Featured NDLEA Arrests Importers of Laughing Gas Meant for Recreational Use in Lagos

Published 14th Jul, 2023

By Sodeeq Atanda

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested importers of nitrous oxide, popularly known as laughing gas, in Lagos and Imo states.

Femi Babafemi, NDLEA’s director, media and advocacy, shared details of the arrest in a press statement he signed on Friday and circulated across the agency’s social media handles.

LAGOS STATE ARREST

According to the statement, a two-man group responsible for the importation of laughing gas weighing 64,852 kg were apprehended at Apapa Seaport in Lagos State on Wednesday.

“Barely 24 hours after the chairman/chief executive officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Barwa (Retd) directed all commands and formations of the agency to begin an immediate clampdown on illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas, following its abuse by people who use it for recreational purposes, operatives have intercepted over 64,863.5 kilogram consignments of the gaseous substance at the Apapa seaport in Lagos and in Imo State,” the statement reads.

READ ALSO: We Have No Record Against Tinubu As a Drug Peddler, Says NDLEA

“Following credible intelligence, NDLEA operatives at the Apapa seaport on Wednesday, 12th July, intercepted two containers marked MKSU 7627856 and MKSU 7689448 suspected to contain cartons of nitrous oxide and plastic pressure release nozzles imported from China. As a result, a joint examination of the containers was carried out by NDLEA officers, men of the Customs Service and other stakeholders the following day, Thursday, 13th July.

The consignments recovered by NDLEA
The consignments recovered in Lagos State

“During the search of the two containers, a total of 522 cartons of nitrous oxide containing 16,366 packages weighing 64,852kgs were recovered along with the paraphernalia for recreational use. The importer of the consignment, 30-year-old Stephen Eze and his agent, Michael Chukwuma, were thereafter arrested and detained for further investigation.”

IMO STATE ARREST

Three cartons of the same substance were also recovered by the operatives of the anti-narcotics agency in Imo State.

The consignments were being transported to its owner, Tonye Kalio, who was based in Rivers State, at the time of the recovery.

“In the same way, NDLEA operatives on patrol along Owerri-Onitsha expressway in Imo State on Thursday, 13th July, intercepted three cartons containing 18 canisters of the same substance weighing 11.5kg heading to Port Harcourt, Rivers State. A swift follow-up was conducted in the stadium road area of Elekahia, Port Harcourt, same day, leading to the arrest of the owner of the shipment, 24-year-old Tonye Kalio,” NDLEA said.

“While commending the officers and men of the Apapa Port and their Imo State counterparts for being proactive and swift, Marwa said clampdown on illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide will continue nationwide to protect young Nigerians from the devastating effects of abusing the substance and in the overall interest of public health. He commended the cooperation of the sister agencies and stakeholders towards achieving the set objective.”

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Published 14th Jul, 2023

By Sodeeq Atanda

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