Edo Shrine Raid Uncovers Hidden Drug Cache, Leading to Multiple Arrests by NDLEA

By Joke Kujenya

OPERATIVES OF the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have dismantled a major drug operation in the Igor community, Benin City, Edo State.

The raid uncovered a shrine used as a storage facility for illicit drugs, guarded by a large black snake.

Hidden within a specially constructed hole in the wall, covered by wallpaper and fetish objects, the operatives found 8.743 kilograms of various narcotics, including methamphetamine, Loud, Colorado, and Arizona — all potent strains of cannabis.

During the intelligence-led operation on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, two women, Sonia Chinonso Ezumezu and Risikatu Tijani, were apprehended at the shrine.

The black snake, which was guarding the premises, was neutralized, enabling the operatives to seize the illicit substances.

In a separate operation, two suspects, Obi Ferguson, 45, and Ernest Abanum, 46, were arrested on Saturday, June 22, in the Usen forest, Ovia Southwest LGA, Edo State where the NDLEA agents recovered 209 kilograms of cannabis and a motorcycle during the raid.

Also in Lagos, NDLEA officers intercepted a consignment of 8.2 kilograms of methamphetamine at a motor park in the Mazamaza area of Ojo.

The highly addictive substance, often referred to as ice or crystal meth, was cleverly concealed within Dunkin’ Turtle Love chocolate wraps and hidden inside three loudspeaker casings.

A 39-year-old suspect, Michael Odiomume, who was attempting to send the consignment to Owerri, Imo State, was arrested at the scene on Wednesday, June 19.

In Abuja, NDLEA operatives intercepted a white Nissan Frontier pickup truck with amber lights and a fake security agency registration number at Kiyi village in Kuje area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Tuesday, June 18.

The vehicle was loaded with 454 compressed blocks of cannabis sativa, weighing 340.8 kilograms and its consignment was traced back to Uzeba, Edo State.

A 76-year-old man, Francis Omofa, linked to the drug operation, was promptly arrested and he admitted to being involved in the drug trade for the past decade.

Additionally, NDLEA commands and formations across Nigeria have continued their War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) sensitization activities whilst their initiatives included enlightenment lectures for students and teachers at St. Peters College in Nibo, Anambra State, Apostolic Grammar School in Ilesa, Osun State, Immanuel Baptist High School in Oyo Town, Oyo State, and Federal Government Science and Technical College in Otukpa, Benue State.

The WADA advocacy lectures were delivered to Muslim worshippers during their Juma’at prayer in Umuahia, Abia State, and a visit was made to the First Lady of Enugu State, Mrs. Nkechinyere Mbah, by the state command of the NDLEA.

And as always, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), commended the efforts of the officers and men in Edo, Lagos, and FCT commands, giving kudos to their balanced approach to both drug supply reduction and drug demand reduction, urging them to sustain the offensive against drug cartels while continuing to intensify the WADA social advocacy campaign.

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