The Edo State command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has smashed a drug syndicate operated by fake police officers that specialise in smuggling cannabis from South -South to North West region of the country.
This followed the interception of a Toyota Hiace bus with registration number Ondo AKR 392 LZ along Okpella Okene road conveying fifty bags of dried weeds suspected to be cannabis sativa weighing 685kg.
According to the state commander Buba Wakawa who made this known to newsmen in Benin City, the syndicate operates under the fake cover of the Nigerian police force.
The black bus with tainted glasses had a siren and police stickers both at the front and rear to deceive unsuspecting members of the public as well as security personnel. It has all the paraphernalia of an official police vehicle but all is a ruse.
Two members of the group, Matthew Enumba,51, and Ojukwu Henry Ofor,36, dressed in police uniform were arrested in connection with the illegal transportation of the illicit drugs. The arrest has been described as a product of painstaking and protracted monitoring of the syndicate.
So much has been invested into this operation and I am glad that our efforts have been rewarded, the commander added.
The bus which reportedly took off from Uzebba in Owan West Local Government Area of the State was going to Kaduna as the final destination when officers of the Auchi command of the NDLEA acting on intelligent report stopped it and discovered the drugs during a search operation. Meanwhile, in a separate operation, the command raided Okpuje forest also in Owan West Local Government Area where two thousand, four hundred and twelve kulogramms (2,412kg) of cannabis were seized.
The two suspects caught in police uniforms escorting the cannabis laden bus have owned up to the crime. Both of them are drivers by profession before joining the cannabis smuggling syndicate. If found guilty, the suspects could spend their lifetime in prison custody in accordance with section 11 subsection (b) of the NDLEA Act which states that anybody that export, transports or otherwise traffics in the drugs popularly known as cocaine, LSD heroine or any other similar drugs shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to be sentenced to imprisonment for life.
One of the suspects, Matthew Enumba who hails from Ndokwa West in Delta State is married to a wife with five children. In his words, “we just got the police uniforms to provide cover for our illegal transportation of drugs from Edo to the north. We are not officers but we have properly rehearsed on how to act as officers without our identity being uncovered. It is unfortunate that the tables are completely against us this time around”.
The second suspect, Ojukwu Henry hails from Imo State. Henry is married with five children also. ” I am a driver but unemployment has pushed me into drug trafficking. I have been taking care of my family with proceeds from cannabis smuggling. Drug trafficking is bad but it is all about survival as a bread winner of the family. Children cannot cope with the pain of joblessness and l have a responsibility to provide for them” he stated.
The commander assured members of the public that we are in the season of payback and nemesis for drug traffickers. No one guilty of drug offences shall go unpunished. We are working round the clock to enforce the NDLEA Act by making our country safe and healthy. The suspects will soon be charged to court. In addition to the drug charges, the suspects will be transferred to the Nigerian police to face charges of impersonation. Signed Buba Wakawa Commander.