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Contraband: NDLEA seizes 64,863kg ‘laughing gas’ consignments, arrests 3 suspects

One of the Arrested Suspects with Laughing Gas Packages Photo: NDLEA

*Nigeria’s National Drug Law Enforcement Agency discloses its officials, men of the Customs Service, and other stakeholders jointly examined of two containers at the Lagos seaport and discovered 522 cartons of Nitrous Oxide, also known as ‘laughing gas’, containing 16,366 packages weighing 64,852kgs along with the paraphernalia for recreational use

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Sequel to the recent express directive handed down by Brig.-Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Rtd.), Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), mandating all Commands and formations of the Agency to activate clampdown on illegal sale and use of Nitrous Oxide, otherwise known as “laughing gas”, operatives of the agency  have intercepted over 64, 863.5 kilogram consignments of the gaseous substance at the Apapa seaport in Lagos and Imo States.

Operatives of the anti-narcotics regulatory agency at NDLEA operatives at the Apapa seaport, acting on credible intelligence, Wednesday, July 12, 2023, intercepted two containers marked MSKU 7626856 and MSKU 7689448 suspected to contain cartons of Nitrous Oxide and plastic pressure release nozzles imported from China.

ConsumerConnect reports the NDLEA had issued the directive against abuse by some Nigerians who reportedly use it for recreational purposes.

Mr. Femi Babafemi, Director of Media and Advocacy at the NDLEA Headquarters, in Abuja, explained in a statement the NDLEA officials, men of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), and other stakeholders subsequently, carried out a joint examination of the containers the following day.

Babafemi stated during the search of the two containers at the port, the operatives discovered a total of 522 cartons of Nitrous Oxide, containing 16,366 packages weighing 64,852kgs 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,” said the NDLEA Director of Media and Advocacy.

Likewise, the Spokesman said the NDLEA operatives while on patrol along Owerri-Onitsha Expressway, in Imo State, July 13 intercepted three cartons containing 18 canisters of the same substance weighing 11.5kg heading to Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

According to him, 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.

‘Clampdown on illegal Nitrous Oxide to continue’

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 would continue nationwide to protect young Nigerians from the devastating effects of abusing the substance and in the overall interest of public health, the statement noted.

The Chairman of NDLEA commended the cooperation of other sister security agencies and stakeholders towards achieving the set objective.

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