NDLEA Intercepts 64,863kg ‘Laughing Gas’ Consignments
Written by Teniola Akerele on July 14, 2023
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have intercepted a consignment of over 64, 863.5 kilogrammes of nitrous oxide, known as laughing gas, following its abuse by people who use it for recreational purposes at the Apapa seaport in Lagos and in Imo State.
This comes barely 24 hours after the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Agency, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) directed all commands and formations of the agency to begin an immediate clampdown on illegal sale and use of the gaseous substance.
NDLEA spokesman, Femi Babafemi, in a statement on Friday, said following credible intelligence, NDLEA operatives at the Apapa seaport on Wednesday 12th July intercepted two containers marked MSKU 7626856 and MSKU 7689448 suspected to contain cartons of Nitrous oxide and plastic pressure release nozzles imported from China.
He said 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.
Babafemi said 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 statement reads, “The importer of the consignment, 30-year-old Stephen Eze and his agent, Michael Chukwuma were thereafter arrested and detained for further investigation.
“In the same vein, 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 operation 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.
“While commending the officers and men of the Apapa Port, and their Imo state Command counterparts for being pro-active and swift, Marwa said the 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 other sister security agencies and stakeholders towards achieving the set objective.”