Navy intensifies anti-narcotics war…hands over N500m worth of seized marijuana to NDLEA
The Nigerian Navy has intercepted and handed over 463 bags of marijuana calculated to be worth over N500million in the open market.
Parading the seized consignment before newsmen on Thursday in Lagos, the Commander Nigerian Navy Ship BEECROFT, Commodore Malami Haruna, said the consignments, being transported in a wooden boat, were intercepted after a Navy patrol boat suspected its movement.
His words: “At about 1 AM on Saturday 21 May, the Nigerian Navy intercepted a boat laden with contraband suspected to be cannabis sativa popularly known as Marijuana.
“The interception was done during the routine sea patrol conducted by the Nigerian Navy Special Boat Service (NNSBS) off Lagos Fairway buoy.”
Haruna, however, added that while the suspects escaped on sighting the navy, the patrol team was able to move the boat with the contraband to the Base.
“The suspects on sighting the patrol boats jumped into a speed boat and sped off. Though the suspects are at large, efforts are being made to apprehend them.
“However, the boat laden with the contraband was towed to the Base for further investigation.
“Our preliminary investigations revealed that the boat was loaded with about 463 large sacks of compressed Marijuana worth more than Five Hundred Million Naira in the local market amongst other items,” the Commodore said.
According to the Commodore, handing over of the seized marijuana to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) was in line with extant regulations for the arrest and handover of suspects and evidence.
He added that the prevention of such large quantity of hard drugs from entering the Nigerian society would serve to reduce drug intake that lead our youths towards committing crimes in the society.
Using the occasion to warn drug traffickers to desist from such acts, Commodore Haruna said that seizing the consignment of marijuana would also deprive the owners of the contraband the funds to sustain their operations.
His words: “Accordingly, I would like to use this avenue to warn drug traffickers and other economic saboteurs that the Nigerian Navy under the leadership of Vice Admiral AZ Gambo, maintains zero tolerance to criminalities and will not relent in its drive to rid the nation’s maritime space of all illegalities such as drug trafficking and oil theft amongst others.”
Receiving the seized consignment of bags of marijuana, Marine Commander of the NDLEA, Isaac Uzah, thanked the navy for its commitment and support in the anti-drug trafficking war.
He said that the NDLEA would continue to maintain the already robust collaboration with the navy to ensure the war against illicit drug trafficking is sustained.
He said: “Our gathering today is another milestone in our collaboration with the Nigerian Navy. The Navy is one of the agencies of government that are supporting the war against transnational crime, especially drug trafficking.
“The maritime domain is not only large but it is complex and challenging. Despite the challenges, the Nigerian Navy is living up to expectations. Specifically, with the NDLEA and upon my assumption of duty from January, the Navy has made massive arrests at sea.”
Commending the navy specifically for its donation of two Epenal boats recently to the NDLEA, Uzah said the support would further boost the Agency’s marine unit operational efficiency.
He also made reference to earlier seizures and arrests made by the navy, and stated that the suspects were already being prosecuted by the court.
“On the January 11 and 27, 2022, they handed over 261 and 268 bags of cannabis respectively and today again, we can see the massive seizure which is over 463 bags. So, the seizure and arrest speak volume in our relationship with the Nigerian Navy.
“From the second seizure, 20 Ghanaian suspects were apprehended and handed over and they are facing prosecution at the Federal High Court. So, we thanked the navy for complementing the efforts of the NDLEA,” Uzah said.