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Pastor Tunde Bakare Explodes: Blame Obasanjo for Yar’Adua, Jonathan’s failure …

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The Serving Overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, spoke to BAYO AKINLOYE and TOBI AWORINDE about President Muhammadu Buhari’s list of ministerial nominees, among other issues

What do you think about President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministerial nominees so far and what input did you have in the selection process?

We all waited for President Buhari’s list to come out. We have seen it and we trust God for the best as regards these people he (Buhari) chose by himself after due consultation with the Vice President (Prof. Yemi Osinbajo) and the party (the All Progressives Congress). We trust that as some of them had performed well in time past (in areas) that we can point to, they would had the grace to also do extraordinarily well for the citizens of Nigeria.

As for whether I have an input or not, that question is uncalled for because I am not in the decision-making organ of the party. He (Buhari) said it publicly that it (the selection) was (made) after due consultations with the Vice President and the leadership of the party. I am neither the Vice President nor an officer of the party. So, the question of my input has no basis.

The names of several of the ministerial nominees had been bandied about for months, prior to the official announcement. Do you think the delay in releasing the list was warranted?

In the first instance, he explained why it took that long. I do not think that President Buhari had no idea of who he wanted in his cabinet; I believe he had an idea of who he wanted but he wanted to act democratically: One, by consulting with his people as well as the vital organs of the leadership of the party. Two, he did mention in his October 1 broadcast that it was just few days to May 29 that he received the handover notes, then, the transition committee they set up had the opportunity of some weeks to go look into the notes. Three, they then sat down to harmonise the ministries with a view to making them lean and mean so that we don’t have a bogus government. If you do not know what ministries you are going to have, what would be the basis for appointing ministers for such ministries, which you have not agreed upon? It was after they had done that that they began to fill the places; that was when he decided, ‘I think A can go to ‘A’ ministry, B can go to ‘B’ ministry and C can go to ‘C’ ministry.’ That is why he took that long. It is not that he had no idea of who he wanted in his cabinet. But he had to do it thoroughly. Slow and steady wins the race.

A number of the ministerial nominees, especially some ex-governors, have been singled out in petitions and allegations of corruption. Is there anyone on the list who you may have doubts about?

Nigeria is a very complex country to govern. I am a preacher; permit me to digress a little to bring some wisdom from the Bible. In Deuteronomy 1, while doing his handover notes, Moses, the servant of God and the leader of Israel who led them (the Israelites) out of Egypt to the Promised Land, said, ‘May the good Lord multiply you a thousand times more.’ In essence, population is no problem. You can look at China and India, population is no problem; it should actually be an asset. ‘May the Lord multiply you a thousand times more, but I cannot bear — (three things) — your complaints, your problems and your burdens.’ This is the primary task of government. My understanding of this is that complaints that are not looked into become problems, and the problems that are not solved become burdens.

It is legitimate for some people to have petitions and complaints about an individual, based on their knowledge of that individual. But if you look at the other side of the spectrum, there are people who are thanking God for that individual because they benefitted from him while in office. Therefore, I have no comments that I will make publicly about any individual. President Buhari and his leadership team must have spent quality time to look at those things (issues) and you can rest assured of one thing: he is law-abiding and, because he is law-abiding, he will do the needful if any of them is found guilty. Remember, an accused person is presumed innocent until the contrary is proved. So, allegations do not translate into the committal of a crime. They remain allegations. But the Senate has said it will look into those things and I pray that the best, brightest and fittest will come out of their screening so that Nigeria can move forward.

What is your general assessment of the list? Are you disappointed or otherwise?

To be honest with you, disappointment does not arise at all because I am in the ‘amen corner’ of Mr. President. I wish him well. I want him to succeed and I know he is a person of deep thought, who has put a lot of considerations into it. If the leader says, ‘This is the person I want,’ how am I going to be disappointed in that? Let me see the man who is so perfect that he does not have any faults here and there; even those who were used by God in the Bible. Once upon a time, Moses killed and God said, ‘Those who are looking for you are there.’ Once upon a time, Saul of Tarsus was murdering Christians and throwing them into jail. Remember the thief on the cross who said (to Jesus), ‘Remember me in your kingdom.’ He entered Paradise that same night. Let us not judge people only by their past. Let’s put the totality of the picture; let’s consider all. I do not think that President Buhari, who is a champion for order and who wants to fight corruption with everything God has given him, will condone corrupt people around himself. But until those things are proved, they remain in the realm of allegations. There is therefore no disappointment whatsoever. To be honest with you, I know at least five or six of them very well. The ones I don’t know, I give the benefit of the doubt.

Earlier this year, you said, “I trust Buhari and this is because I have worked closely with him but I doubt his environment.” What did you mean by “environment”?

That comment was made at the (Island) Club, where I gave a Lenten lecture. It was during that lecture that I said, ‘I can vouch for the integrity and honesty of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (as he was then called). But I see some around him that I can’t say the same thing about.’ Remember, the APC is an amalgam of all kinds (of parties). But then, this is not heaven; this is the earth. In heaven, you may have angels attending to the duties in the throne room, but on earth, you still have men. And the best of men are still men, at their very best. Even in heaven, Satan — as Lucifer then — rebelled against God and created war, so how much more on earth? But I think likes attract likes. I believe in the power of influence more than the influence of power. If a leader is ramrod straight, he will influence his environment. And because of that, there can be a bandwagon effect of, ‘Look, this will displease the leader. Let’s do it right.’

That time was a time of politics, when there was still fight for this and that. In fact, I do not think that at the time I gave the lecture, we had gone to election. It was few weeks before the election. We have past that stage now. We are now face-to-face with the stark realities and I think the President put a lot of that into consideration before coming to his final list.

What lessons should President Buhari learn from former President Goodluck Jonathan’s failures?

To start with, President Buhari is not the new kid on the block. He had been governor of a total of six north-eastern states. He had been petroleum commissioner – what we now call minister of petroleum, and he had been Head of State for a brief period—between 1984 and 1985. He knew why he fought doggedly for those 12 years to unseat an entrenched regime or rather a political party (the Peoples Democratic Party) that had the vision or illusion of ruling Nigeria for 60 years. Whatever was his motivating factor should not be forgotten because what takes you to the top will sustain you at the top.

Now, there is what is called the PVC (Permanent Voter Card) revolution in Nigeria. He can’t afford to rest on his oars until his good becomes better and his better becomes best, because the promises made, and even those that are not made but are needful for this society, must be on the front burner for him to still stand before Nigerians and give account of his stewardship and expect them to vote for him or his party in the future. Those two things are enough to keep him going. And if he keeps on doing the right things, then the wrong things and the wrong people will leave him alone.

A number of big shots in the PDP have been jumping ship and pointing fingers at Jonathan for failing to fight corruption. Do you think that the party today would be what it is today if Jonathan had won the last election?

I will put it this way: failure is an orphan, success has many fathers. I’ve seen in this country that we are quick to shoot the wounded. If Jonathan did not accomplish much in the time he was president or vice president, I thank God for one thing: he did not allow a bloodbath in the process of handing over power. If he had decided to use all the powers at his disposal, he could still be unseated but there would have been bloodbath that was unnecessary and President Buhari alluded to that both in Washington—I was there with him when he made that statement—and here, when he received the baton in May. On October 1, he still alluded to it that he (Jonathan) saved Nigeria from an unnecessary bloodbath.

As for those who are talking, especially those he (Jonathan) looked up to as father figures; it’s too soon to abandon a person, no matter what he has done wrong or right. Let the law take the full effect if he has done anything that borders on crime. I am not supporting abuse of office, but please, ‘Do not rejoice over me, my enemy,’ as the Bible says, ‘because if I fall, I will rise again. The righteous man falls seven times; the Lord picks him up again.’ What am I saying? I am trying to say, ‘let’s give credit where it is due and let’s give correction that is necessary.’ We must not shoot the wounded because we are now teaching future people to sit tight because of the shame that will come as a result of handing over power.

The Minister of Petroleum Resources under Jonathan’s administration, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, is facing charges in the United Kingdom bordering on money laundering and bribery. What are your thoughts on accusations that she was high-handed during the last administration?

I was not part of that government. It stays in the realm of best guesses and I don’t do well with guesses. I like facts. The matter is in a court of competent jurisdiction outside of the realm of a ‘cash-and-carry’ legal system. So, let the law take its full effect. I do not think money can bribe a British judge. We have seen from (ex-Governor of Delta State, James) Ibori’s case that though he was discharged and acquitted on the same charges, he got to Europe and faced the music. If Diezani had abused power, that abuse must have been condoned by those who gave her free rein. So, you can’t blame Diezani alone; you (have to) look at the systemic failure that produced such people. Where is the place of checks and balances? Where is the oversight that the Senate was supposed to have in the National Assembly? Where is the collective effort of those in the cabinet? You can’t blame one man; the fall of one is the fall of all. It is a shame on the nation that they are arresting our ministers abroad and finding money in their hands. Like the people, like the priest.

What do you make of the pleas by Bishop Matthew Kukah of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto; the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, and others in the National Peace Committee against probing Jonathan?

He who wears the shoe knows where it pinches. The individuals you mentioned — the Bishop of Sokoto and Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor — they are people I can pick my phone (to call) and ask them about their opinion on what they have said. I have learnt not to follow what I read in the newspapers in Nigeria. My first daughter got married in August this year and it was all over that Pastor Bakare gave his daughter away (in marriage) in London, whereas it took place in Lagos. So, when they say things about people, I have learnt to be careful. And about what transpired between Bishop Kukah and President Muhammadu Buhari, until we get to hear from both sides, I am careful not to pass judgment.

I am not avoiding your question because it’s been done to me a number of times. In 1999, it was reported that I said (ex-President Olusegun) Obasanjo would die. I didn’t say such a thing. But where will I be going to say I didn’t say such a thing? I don’t waste my time. I just focus on what I am doing. If I gave a false prophecy, why did Obasanjo invite a thousand pastors to Ota to start praying for intervention? I just said, ‘Hey, be careful; if these take place, these are the consequences that will come.’ Nobody paid attention to the details of what I said that, ‘If by an act of omission or commission Obasanjo is sworn, in as President of Nigeria, three things would happen: One, corruption will reach its peak; two, the revival of the occult will claim the lives of many; and three, family life will disintegrate in Nigeria.’ Go back and check those things, whether they came to pass or not.

Here we are, I have no reason to hate Obasanjo, but it is what you blow into the flute that it brings out. I have heard claims that I said Obasanjo would die. Propaganda is the machinery of the wicked; they have a way of making a mountain out of a molehill. Why would anybody who believes in equity and fairness say that if someone has done evil, he should be overlooked? No! The Bible makes it clear that when judgment is not speedily executed, the hearts of men are set in them to do evil.

When I went to the US with the delegation of President Buhari, part of the little contribution I made during a meeting we had with (the first female US Secretary of State) Madeleine Albright was that we should learn from the past and we should not put the cart before the horse. In the past, what we were asking for was restitution— ‘return our money’ — but we didn’t do any prosecution. This time, we should prosecute and do it legally so that others will learn that there are consequences for what they have done. When you know that if you steal, you will face the music, you will think twice; except your father’s name means nothing to you and you are not a person of dignity and integrity. I don’t want to spend my life in jail over stolen wealth of the nation. No. But if for my conviction, for asking that Nigeria should be restructured, for asking for order and discipline to be in our nation, you jail me, then, I will become the moral conscience of the nation. I do not think any preacher in his right mind will say, ‘wherever you see wrong done, overlook it.’ I don’t think those people (peace committee members) will say so or else they know more than we know.

What if Jonathan is found to be guilty of looting the country’s treasury?

If he had looted the treasury, take the money back. Take the money back and let the world know; let the law take its full effect. A president is a servant of the people. Power is a trust from God. If he had looted the treasury, take the money back and let the law take its course. But don’t deliberately impugn his integrity; don’t give a dog a bad name in order to hang it.

Obasanjo has been meeting with President Buhari. Are you wary of his closeness to the President?

Buhari is not a young man that can be influenced by anyone. He knows his onions and his door is open to past leaders. And he must cross-check with them some things that are not clear to him. So, because people change, who knows? If a Saul could become Paul, if a Jacob could become Israel, who knows what an Obasanjo could become? He could become the person who says, ‘Oh my God! I regretted that I had the opportunity to do my best and I did not do quite well.’ If I had any pain where Obasanjo is concerned, it is not a pain born out of envy; we are poles apart age-wise, in terms of exposure and status. (In life) we are miles apart — he’s much older than I am. There is no competition at all. My pain is that I have not seen anyone as specially endowed and blessed in Nigerian history and political history like Obasanjo.

There is a portion of the Scripture in John 4, where Jesus met the woman at the well of Samaria and he said to his disciples afterwards, ‘Lift up your eyes and see, the harvesting field is white already and I am sending you to reap where you do not bestow labour.’ It is as if every time something major happens in Nigeria, he is the recipient of the blessings. Can you compare the role of Benjamin Adekunle of the Third Marine Commando Division in the Nigerian Civil War; can you put it on the same pedestal with the role of Obasanjo? Obasanjo joined them at the war front; not long after, he was the one that received the surrender note (from the Biafran troops). Obasanjo was not part of the coup that brought Gen. Murtala Muhammed into power but he became his deputy. And immediately Gen. Muhammed was murdered, he became the Head of State.

I remember him saying, ‘Against my personal wish and desire, the mantle of leadership has now fallen upon me.’ I mean, I heard his English and I said, ‘Oh my God, this is an Egba man speaking.’ But, he was our Head of State. Whether he was rough or rugged, take it or leave it, there is an invisible hand positioning him. Obasanjo handed over power whether out of being afraid or not, we don’t know. But he handed over power and he became a global power well received. Abdulsalam Abubakar was a parade commander the day Obasanjo handed over power to Shehu Shagari, only for Obasanjo, years after, – more than 20 years after – to come and receive power from the same Abubakar straight away from prison.

Those eight years (Obasanjo spent as president) should have been formidable years of putting Nigeria upon a pedestal that nobody can reverse it. And above all, whether it is insecurity or selfishness, which is the greatest curse on the face of the earth, he gave the weak and the sick to the nation. Whatever happened during Umar Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan era – yes, they will have their own portion of the blame – but Obasanjo thought he could manipulate things from Ota. That is my opinion; that is my pain. He robbed this nation of quality leadership and he robbed this nation of being put on a pedestal of predictable progress. That should be his regret. Now, he should repent and contribute his quota towards giving quality leadership to this nation.

Are you saying Obasanjo messed up things during his eight years?

He did (mess things) big time; time will tell.

Some people are asking for immunity for some principal officers in the National Assembly. What do you think about this?

Immunity is the breeding ground of impunity. What I think should be enshrined in our Constitution, no matter the position you occupy, including that of the president, when it borders on crime is that immunity should not be something you feel you can cling to. Because immunity breeds impunity, no one should be above the law regardless of the office you occupy. In fact, in decent climes, such people should resume. But here, it is not so.

Will you, therefore, say that the immunity clause should be removed from the Constitution?

No. if you remove immunity clause, presidents and the governors can be overwhelmed by assailants –not those who just want to shoot them –but, those who want to bring petitions and false allegations against them all the time. But where a crime is proved, that someone has committed a crime, regardless of the office you occupy immunity should be taken away. That is why I said in decent climes –look at the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon (a former president of the United States) resigned. Whenever crime is involved there should be no immunity –because immunity breeds impunity.

Some Nigerians are asking the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, to resign following the charges levelled against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau?

No. I am not saying that because they remain charges until he is proved guilty. But, if he knows in his heart of heart that he is guilty of those things, nobility will compel such a person to say, ‘Upon this consideration, I will remain on the floor of the Senate.’ But, if he knows that he is not guilty, let him wait there and let it be proved in the court. And if he is found guilty, even if he goes on an appeal or not, they will ban him from public life; it had happened before. History has a way of repeating itself.

Source: The Punch

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Transcorp Group Announces N142 Billion Revenue, N58.8 billion PBT, and Celebrates 10 year’s unbroken Dividend payment, at 18th Annual General Meeting

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Transnational Corporation Plc (Transcorp Group or the Group), Nigeria’s leading listed conglomerate, announced 57% revenue growth, from N90.3 billion in 2022 to N142.1 billion in 2023, at its 18th Annual General Meeting (AGM), held on Monday, May 27, 2024, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

The Company’s outstanding financial results were driven by successful execution across all business lines and demonstrated Transcorp Group’s ability to deliver to all its stakeholders, including shareholders. At the AGM, Transcorp Group confirmed excellent year-on-year growth: the Group’s total assets grew by 20% increase, up from N422.7 billion in 2022 to N529.9 billion in 2023, PBT grew from N30.3 billion in 2022 to N58.8 billion in 2023, and PAT for the Group increased from N16.8 billion to N32.5 billion. This performance was due to the strong results across its subsidiaries: Transcorp Hotels Plc, Transcorp Power Plc, Transafam Power Ltd, and Transcorp Energy Ltd.

The Group’s power subsidiaries, which together with its strategic investment in OPL281, form the basis of its integrated energy strategy, also achieved significant growth, achieving a profit increase of 63%, from N17.7 billion in the previous year to N28.9 billion in 2023. Transcorp’s power businesses, Transcorp Power Plc and Transafam Power, provide over 20% of Nigeria’s installed power capacity and the Group recently entered the distribution sector, through its investment in Abuja Electricity Distribution Plc.

The Group’s hospitality business achieved record average occupancy of 81%, with profit increasing by 105% from N4.6 billion in the previous year to N9.5 billion in 2023; while revenue grew by 36% from N30.4 billion in 2022 to N41.5 billion.

President/Group CEO, Dr. Owen D. Omogiafo, OON, highlighted the Group’s strategic growth plans, including the multipurpose, world-class 5,000-capacity event centre at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja, opening this year, as well as the ambition to increase available power generation capacity. She said: “The reward for success is more work, and across our Group, we are not relenting. We are focused on maximising our strengths and opportunities for vertical growth, to deliver more value and achieve sustainable growth. We are confident that the coming year will bring even more value to our shareholders.”

Tony O. Elumelu, CFR, Group Chairman, explained: “Transcorp Group has not only recorded unprecedented growth, the Group has demonstrated its potential to deliver much more value to stakeholders and to our country. The sustained success of all our businesses reflects our resolute stance on corporate governance, our commitment to improving lives and transforming communities, and the priority we place on our people. Despite the current macro-economic challenges, the future remains an exciting one”.

“Government has a critical role to play. We remain committed to creating more value and appreciate the policies already implemented. However, we call on the Federal Government to prioritise the crippling issues in the power sector. The challenges in the power sector should be uppermost in our nation’s transformation agenda. The private sector cannot thrive without improved access to electricity. Fundamentally reforming the power sector is essential to our national economic transformation.”

Shareholders at the AGM approved a dividend of 10 kobo, a 100% increase over the previous year. The financial year 2023 is the 10th consecutive year of consistent dividend payment by Transcorp Group.

Shareholders also lauded Transcorp Group’s commitment to growing shareholder value and strong corporate governance, as well as its consistency in paying dividends year-on-year. The Group’s commitment to community and social responsibility, inclusive of its sustainability and CSR projects, was also commended at the AGM.

About Transnational Corporation

Transnational Corporation Plc (Transcorp Group) is one of Africa’s leading, listed conglomerates, with strategic investments in the power, hospitality, and energy sectors, driven by its mission to improve lives and transform Africa.

Transcorp’s power businesses, Transcorp Power Plc and Transafam Power, provide over 20% of Nigeria’s installed power capacity. Transcorp is committed to developing Nigeria’s domestic energy value chain, through its investments in OPL287. The Group’s hospitality business, Transcorp Hotels Plc owns the iconic Transcorp Hilton Abuja, Nigeria’s flagship hospitality destination, and has launched the digital platform Aura by Transcorp Hotels.

www.transcorpgroup.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Anxiety as CBN sacks 200 employees

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No fewer than 200 officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria were on Friday relieved of their duties, adding to the long list of ongoing disengagements in the apex bank, Saturday PUNCH reports.

This adds to the list of 117 staff sacked by the bank between March 15th and April 11, 2024.

The termination of appointments affects directors, deputy directors, assistant directors, principal managers, senior managers and lower-ranking staff.

Impeccable sources who are staff of the bank confirmed the sacking to our correspondent on Friday, adding that the sacked persons were more than 200 but not less than 200.

They revealed that the new move included older directors who were not affected by the last round of retrenchment.

One of the sources in a 20-second call with our correspondent simply stated, “It is true and confirmed.”

The staff who could not disclose further details for fear of being tapped added that the move had caused palpable apprehension amongst staff of every cadre as the management had not specified any standard criteria for the decisions.

Another undeniable authority confirmed the information, indicating that additional dismissals are expected in the months ahead, spread out across staggered phases.

The official said, “It is real and is even more than 200 officials but the actual number is unconfirmed yet. The sacking is coming in staggered phases and that is why we can’t confirm the number yet.

“But it is not less than 200. The sacked persons include directors and other cadres but the ones that are easily known are the directors. Some of the old directors that were not affected during the last round of sacks are now affected.”

The sack letter obtained by our correspondent and issued by the Human Resources Department on May 24, 2024, indicated that the policy was to reorganise the organisation for effective operations.

The letter, lacking a signature, read, “The new strategic direction of the bank has been widely publicised. In line with our new mission and vision, the bank is currently undergoing a significant organisational and human capital restructuring process.

“As a result of this review, I have been directed to notify you that your services will not be required with effect from Friday, 24th May 2024. Your final entitlements will be calculated and paid to you in due course. Thank you”

In February, at least 1,500 members of staff of the apex bank of Nigeria were redeployed from the headquarters located at Central Area to its Lagos office.

At the time, the CBN said the action was necessitated by several factors, including the need to align the bank’s structure with its functions and objectives and redistribute skills to ensure a more even geographical spread of talent.

It added that it was also in compliance with building regulations, as indicated by repeated warnings from the facility manager, and the findings and recommendations of the Committee on Decongestion of the CBN Head Office.

Efforts to get the reaction of the Director of Corporate Communication, Hakama Sidi Ali, was not successful as she did not respond to several calls sent across to her or reply the text messages to her line.

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Paris-bound bizman arrested with 111 cocaine wraps

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has arrested a 48-year-old businessman, Emmanuel Orjinze, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, for ingesting 111 wraps of cocaine.

The suspect, who claimed to be a professional footballer in Europe, was arrested on May 21 during the outward clearance of an Air France flight to Paris, France.

This was made known in a statement signed by the agency’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, and shared on the agency’s website on Sunday.

The statement read, “Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency have arrested a 48-year-old Paris, France-bound businessman, Emmanuel Okechuku Orjinze, for ingesting 111 wraps of cocaine, which he excreted after days of observation in the agency’s custody following his arrest at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

“Okechukwu, who also claims he is a professional footballer in Europe, was arrested on Tuesday, May 21, during the outward clearance of Air France flight AF 878 from Abuja to Paris, France.

“After a body scan confirmed he ingested illicit drugs, he was taken into custody where he excreted a total of 111 pellets of cocaine that weighed 1.603 kilograms over three days. The suspect claimed he did business in the maritime sector while still scouting for any European football club to engage him. ”

In the same vein, the NDLEA officers operating at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos hinted that they had dismantled another drug trafficking syndicate at the airport.

This, they said in a statement, followed the arrest of four members of the network and the seizure of a total of 8kg of methamphetamine and 7.60kg of Loud, a synthetic strain of cannabis imported from South Africa.

The statement added that a drug trafficking syndicate was busted at the airport when an official was caught with illicit substances in their backpack and bag.

On May 21, 2024, the NDLEA officers, supported by aviation security, intercepted the official at Terminal 1 and discovered the drugs during a search, blowing the lid off the syndicate.

“A swift follow-up operation at the Ajao Estate area of Lagos led to the arrest of two other members of the syndicate: Chris Nwadozie and Chinedu Nwaosu. Further investigation led to the arrest of another member of the cartel working within the airport system on Saturday, May 25,” the statement added.

In a related development, the agency also arrested a freight agent, Sonubi Abiodun, for attempting to export eight parcels of cocaine concealed in paint buckets to the United Kingdom.

Additionally, the NDLEA operatives arrested suspects producing and distributing skuchies, a mixture of black currant and illicit drugs, in Lagos, and recovered 2,480 litres of the psychoactive substance.

In Cross River State, a suspect, Ogar Emmanuel, was arrested with 2.5kg of cannabis, while 290kg of cannabis was recovered from the warehouse of Usani Ikpi, who is still at large. Additionally, three suspects – Sa’adu Sule, Mukhtar Nura, and Hamza Nura – were arrested in Katsina State with 70kg of cannabis, which originated from Ogun State.

The statement added, “No fewer than five suspects including Ezekiel Munda, 30; and Sule Mustapha, 21, were arrested by the NDLEA operatives on Thursday, May 23, during raids at the Karu Abattoir, Jikwoyi and Tora Bora hill area of the FCT, Abuja, where 95.01kg of cannabis and different quantities of opioids were recovered from them.

“In Edo State, operatives arrested a physically challenged notorious drug dealer, Zekere Sufianu, 45, at Auchi town on Wednesday, May 22. At the time of his arrest, he was found with 751 grams of Loud, 178 grams of tramadol, and pills of swinol,” the statement concluded.

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