NDLEA-Unmasking Drug Barons; By Safiya I. Dantiye

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FROM time immemorial, we have never known or seen a drug baron arrested; only the couriers, the traffickers but the drug lords are invisible. They are shrouded in mystery as people always ask who the barons behind the traffickers are.

However, now with Brigadier General Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd) at the helm of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), we are seeing the unmasking of the masquerades, so to say.

A drug baron Ugochukwu Nsofor Chukwukadibia was arrested in his house at Victoria Garden City (VGC) in Lagos, where a whooping Thirteen Million, Four Hundred and Fifty-One Thousand, Four Hundred and Sixty-Six (13,451,466) pills of Tramadol 225mg worth Eight Billion, Eight Hundred and Sixty Million Naira (N8,860,000,000) in street value have been recovered by operatives of the NDLEA.

Ugochukwu Nsofor Chukwukadibia

In a statement by its Director of Media & Advocacy in Abuja, Femi Babafemi, the NDLEA on Monday said that the billionaire drug baron, Ugochukwu Nsofor Chukwukadibia, is the Chairman of Autonation Motors Ltd.

Two months ago, NDLEA uncovered a methamphetamine clandestine laboratory in the residence of another suspected drug kingpin in the estate, Chris Emeka Nzewi, who was arrested on Saturday 30th July along with a chemist, Sunday Ukah, who cooked the drug for him.

At least, 258.74 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine and various precursor chemicals used for the production of the toxic drug were recovered from Nzewi’s home during his arrest.

This is not however to forget how the suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, (DCP) Abba Kyari, who was so much loved by Nigerians for bursting crimes, was suddenly arrested and handed over to the NDLEA over his involvement in cocaine deal in February this year.

In any case, pictures of cartons of the ‘deadly’ drugs trend in the social media, the drugs meant to spoil people, other people’s children, by making them drug addicts and therefore useless and unproductive members of the society. They would rather become a nuisance, involved in criminality like theft, armed robbery, kidnapping and so on.

Surely, Ugochukwu Nsofor Chukwukadibia’s children would be protected by him and he would not want them to become drug addicts, but probably they would be trained as barons too and live a stupendously rich lifestyle at the expense of their victims.

Someone once observed when drug issues were discussed that you would see a man who did not inherit a family fortune, didn’t run a company, and not known to engage in any business, but he buys houses worth millions of naira, so what is the source of his money?

In order to avoid suspicion, some would operate a legitimate business as a front while they carry on with the illicit trade.

We need maximum sentence like death penalty for drug barons, as people on drugs kill other people, some even threaten to kill their own mothers or kill them. And if not, then give them life imprisonment and throw away the key. They don’t deserve leniency if you look at how they ride on destroying peoples’ lives; their future dreams and how parents are pained by how their children are damaged just for some people to make money.

Then, they make people to become criminals such as their couriers and peddlers, even house wives and small children are involved. This is because if there are no drugs from the barons these people would not be involved in drug business.

One man who deals in drugs told his father that no matter what, he would never stop because of the money he got from it. He buys cows and rams during Sallah to sell with the drug money. If, however, there are no such drugs he must find a legitimate way of making a living.

This arrest is a signal to the drug barons that there is a new sheriff in town, they are no longer invisible, their layar zana (invisible charm) is no longer working. Or perhaps all along it was not the efficacy of invisible charms but compromise and corruption that made them not to be seen, much less arrested.

A shiver must have run down the spines of those down the ladder of drug business, if their lords could be arrested, they are not safe by any means. So, it is not rocket science, it is possible to catch ‘spirits’ after all.

NDLEA should be supported and this success would encourage people to volunteer information. Also, when the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday last week approved N580.50m for the purchase of four armoured vehicles for the NDLEA, many people were happy because they have seen the result of the agency at tackling the drug problem in the country.

We expect to see many of Ugochukwu Nsofor Chukwukadibia’s arrested and prosecuted.

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