Home News Navy thwart attempt to smuggle 7,443kg drugs into Nigeria

Navy thwart attempt to smuggle 7,443kg drugs into Nigeria

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The Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Beecroft, Apapa, Lagos, has foiled an attempt by a drug cartel to smuggle 193 bags of Cannabis Sativa weighing 7,443kg, into Nigeria, through the waterways off the Badagry coast, Lagos.

Meanwhile, a suspected member of the cartel, Emmanuel Asamani, 24, was arrested inside the large wooden boat conveying the substance.

Briefing journalists yesterday, while handing over the suspect and substance to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), the new Commander, NNS Beecroft, Commodore Taiye Oladejo, said the arrest was made on 16 March 2024.

He said: “The suspect and items were arrested off Badagry coast by one of our naval ships on patrol. On sighting the naval patrol boats, operators of the large Cotonou boat absconded, leaving just one person onboard. The suspect hid between the bags of the substance onboard.

“The arrest was aided by effective utilization of the Maritime Domain Awareness facilities of the Nigerian Navy, that is, the Falcon Eye Facility and the Regional Maritime Awareness Capability Centre in addition to our human intelligence.

“This effort was sequel to the directive of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, to maintain a credible presence in line with the tenets of Operation Water Guard in this part of the Nigerian Navy Area of Responsibility.

“From the preliminary investigation, the suspect claimed he didn’t have a destination in mind. The NDLEA will find out in due course.

“But for the arrest, the proceeds would have been used to sponsor other forms of crimes”.

In an interaction with Vanguard, the 24-year-old Ghanaian suspect could not tell the exact location in Nigeria where the substance was being conveyed to.

He simply said: ”I don’t know where the owners were taking them to. I was only invited to join them to offload the goods. When I asked if there wouldn’t be trouble with security agents, they assured me there wouldn’t.

“Surprisingly, I saw them untying the small boat inside the big one. When I asked why, they said the Navy boat was approaching. Some of them jumped into the river while others left in the small boat which took only two people.

“I could not jump into the river because the distance to Ghana was very far. I was afraid I would die. I decided to remain in the boat. I went inside the engine room to hide and slept off. I woke up the next day and walked up to the naval personnel”.

While receiving the suspect and the recovered substance from the Navy, the Commander of Narcotic, NDLEA Marine Command, Paul Ahom, appreciated the leadership of the NNS Beecroft for the arrest, describing the Navy as the lead agency in the interception of drugs among the maritime law agencies in the country.

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