By Frank Oshanugor
Travellers’ cheques in different foreign currencies with a total value of One Billion, One Hundred and Fifty Seven Million, Six Hundred and Seventy Thousand, Four Hundred and Sixty Nine Naira and Ninety Two Kobo (N1,157, 670,469.92) have been intercepted at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja Lagos by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA).
A suspect, Oguma Richard Uchenna has been arrested in connection with the attempt to export the cheques, which were neatly concealed inside four bound hard cover books disguised as academic project literatures, to the United Kingdom.
The financial instruments suspected to be counterfeits were discovered on Wednesday 27th April at NAHCO export shed of the Lagos airport during cargo examination of some consignments meant for exportation to the UK on a cargo flight.
A breakdown of the cheques shows they have monetary values of Two Hundred and Eighty Seven Thousand, Six Hundred and Twenty Three Dollars, Thirty One Cent ($287, 623.31); One Million Four Hundred and Fifty Six Thousand Three Hundred Canadian Dollars ($1,456,300) and One Million Two Hundred and Ninety Seven Thousand Eight Hundred (1,297,800) Euros.
In the same vein, operatives of NDLEA at the airport have foiled attempt by drug traffickers to smuggle into Nigeria 10.89kilograms of cocaine through a Qatar Airways flight. The illicit drug was hidden in seven children duvets packed in an unaccompanied bag from Brazil.
Meanwhile, raid operations in Kaduna, Ondo and Akwa Ibom state have led to the seizure of about 2,000kg of Tramadol, Codeine, Cannabis and Heroin. In Ondo state, 401kg of cannabis was recovered and two suspects: Julius Dapo, 56 and Emeka Ikebuaku, 32, were arrested at Ipele forest in Owo area on Sunday 24th April.
On same day, a transborder drug trafficker, Chigbo Chinonye, 42, was arrested with amphetamine weighing 2.5kg and heroin weighing 0.5kg during stop and search operation conducted along Oron- Ibaka road on his way to Cameroon.
He concealed the drugs using false bottom packaging.
In Kaduna, a total of 47 cartons of suspected fake Tramadol, comprising 2,350,000 tablets, weighing 1222kg were seized in Zaria on Monday 25th April while a dealer, Chinedu Asogwa was arrested the following day 26th April along Abuja-Kaduna express road, with 2919 bottles of cough syrup with codeine, measuring 291.9litres and a gross weight of 396kg.
While commending the officers and men of the MMIA, Ondo, Akwa Ibom and Kaduna Commands of the Agency for the seizures and arrests in the past week, Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) charged them and their compatriots across the country to remain steadfast and vigilant in their areas of responsibility.