Barely 24 hours after the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd) directed all commands and formations of the agency to begin an immediate clampdown on illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide, otherwise known as ‘laughing gas’ following its abuse by people who use it for recreational purposes, operatives have intercepted over 64, 863.5 kilogrammes consignments of the gaseous substance at the Apapa seaport in Lagos and in Imo state.
Spokesperson for the agency, Femi Babafemi, confirmed the development, yesterday, in a statement.
He said: “Following credible intelligence, NDLEA operatives at the Apapa seaport on Wednesday, July 12, intercepted two containers marked MSKU 7626856 and MSKU 7689448 suspected to contain cartons of Nitrous oxide and plastic pressure release nozzles imported from China.
“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, July 13.
“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 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, July 13, 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.