Barely a few days after the resumption of international flights, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Special Area Command, has intercepted 1.6 kilogramme of controlled drugs suspected to be Tramadol and Flunitrazepam, which were destined for Istanbul, Turkey.
The Head of Public Affairs, NDLEA, Mr Jonah Achema, who disclosed this in a statement, said that the drugs were seized from one Mr Michael Chukwuka, during the outward clearance of passengers boarding the Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul.
Describing the development as unusual, he said the usual trend is the illegal importation of Tramadol from Pakistan and India into Nigeria, and not the exportation of the drug from the country.
He said,”The seizures are made up of 1.250 kilograms of Tramadol and 350 grams of flunitrazepam and were concealed in two Ghana-must-go bags.
“The Tramadol is in 200, 225, and 250 milligrams, respectively. These are above the 100-milligram threshold permissible for legitimate use and anything above is illegal.
“Chukwuka, aged 36 and an indigene of Imo State claimed to be ignorant of the content of the bag.
“And that he was given the bags at the Airport entrance in Abuja to deliver to a Nigerian woman who deals in foodstuff in Istanbul.
“He said he did not know the woman but one Mr Paul, her husband in Warri, gave the consignment to one man to bring to him at the airport,” Achema quoted him as saying.
Achema, however, said that the suspected drug trafficker who worked in a Cargo Office in Istanbul, had lived there together with Paul for many years.
He said that the suspect travelled to Nigeria in March and got trapped by the Coronavirus pandemic during which period, he equally became cash-strapped and had to reach out to friends to enable him to validate his return-ticket.
The Commander, NDLEA, Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Mr Kabir Taskuwa, said that the arrest and seizure coming less than a week after the resumption of international flights at Abuja International Airport was a clear indication that the drug traffickers were desperate.
He added, “We are equally determined. Most importantly, we need to be extra-vigilant because smuggling Tramadol to Turkey was strange.
“This is suggesting that there is an emerging tramadol market in some of these countries.”