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NDLEA arrests Sokoto Village Head, others over 991,320 opioid pills



NDLEA intercepts Europe-bound Cocaine, others at Lagos airport
… Intercepts hard drugs weighing 46.637 kilograms in 7 states***

 The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested one Abubakar Ibrahim, the village head of Gidan Abba, Bodinga Local Government Area of Sokoto, with 10 others over 991,320 pills of pharmaceutical opioids.

A statement by the Director, Media and Advocacy, NDLEA, Mr. Femi Babafemi, on Sunday in Abuja, said 1,251kgs of cannabis and Khat were recovered.

Babafemi said that the suspect,  Ibrahim, 38, was arrested in Bodinga town with 3kgs of cannabis sativa and 4,000 tablets of exol-5.

He said that NDLEA operatives attached to Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) import shed of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, (MMIA) Ikeja Lagos, also intercepted 15 cartons.

According to Babafemi, the cartons which were intercepted on Oct. 26, contained 802,000 pills of Tramadol, imported from Dubai, UAE and Karachi, Pakistan.

He also said that 10 cartons of Tramadol 225mg, came in from Dubai on Ethiopian Airlines flight.

The NDLEA Director for Media and Advocacy added that four cartons of 100mg and a carton of 225mg Tramadol came from Karachi, Pakistan on another Ethiopian Airlines flight.

According to him, on the same day, operatives at the SAHCO export shed intercepted cans of tomato paste going to the United Kingdom.

“A thorough search of the consignment revealed that the tomato cans were used to conceal 36 pellets of cannabis.

“This was with a gross weight of 21.30 kilograms, while a cargo agent, Sodehinde Akinwale, has also been arrested in connection with the seizure.

“Two days after, Oct. 25, operatives attached to the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO) import shed of the Lagos airport, also seized five cartons of dried khat leaves.

“This was also weighing 107.70kgs that came in from Bangkok, Thailand, through Dubai on an Emirates Airline flight, ” he said.

Babafemi said that a follow-up operation on the seizure of 11.90kgs Meth concealed in the heads of dried fish going to Dubai, UAE on August 5, had also led to the arrest of a 30-year-old bricklayer, Babatunde Mamowora.

He said that the suspect was arrested on Oct. 27 in Sango Ota area of Ogun, in collaboration with men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in the area.

In another development, The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) says it has recovered 46.637 kilograms of methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin in seven states across Nigeria.

Mr. Femi Babafemi, Director Media and Advocacy, NDLEA,  made this known in a statement made available on Sunday in Abuja.

The seven states are Enugu, Kogi, Ondo, Adamawa, Nasarawa, Lagos and the FCT.

Babafemi said one 27-year-old Miracle Madu was arrested on Oct. 26 at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu with substance suspected to be cocaine.

The suspect came into Nigeria aboard Ethiopian Airline from Nairobi, Kenya via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

He said a search on Madu revealed that he had 76 foreign bathing soaps made with cocaine in one of his three bags which weighed 10.650 kilograms.

The NDLEA spokesman said that the suspect also had creams made of liquid cocaine weighing 2.496 kilograms.

Babafemi added that a further search showed two plastic bottles containing a liquid that tested positive for cocaine.

“The cocaine in the soap weighed 10.650 kilograms, while that in the liquid and cream weighed 2.496 kilograms, making it 13.146 kilograms,” he said.

The agency spokesperson also said operatives on a stop and search operation along Okene-Abuja highway, intercepted a Chisco-branded bus coming from Lagos to Abuja on Oct. 27.

“The bus was with a consignment of 32.9kgs Meth packaged as tubers of yam, 376 grams of cocaine and 215 grams of heroin.

“While the bus driver, Pascal Nmaram was promptly arrested, a follow-up operation in Abuja the same day led to the arrest of the recipient of the illicit cargo, Ikenna Akunne.

“The suspect confessed he was detailed to travel with the consignment to Spain the following day Oct. 28 through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) Abuja,” he said.

Babafemi disclosed that operatives of the Kogi Command of the agency have destroyed five hectares of cannabis farms at Agbonkete, Iyaya Camp, Igalamela-Odolu areas of the state.

He said that one Augustine Agbenyo, 34, was arrested with three bags containing fresh dried leaves and stems of  substance suspected to be cannabis.

In Lagos, Babafemi disclosed that operatives of the agency seized 146,000 pills of Tramadol weighing 225mg in a buy-and-bust operation in Oshodi area on Oct. 25.

“In the FCT, operatives on patrol along Kwali-Abuja highway on Oct. 24, intercepted a truck with 915.8 kilograms of cannabis and arrested three suspects: Kabiru Ibrahim, 40; Muhammad Muawiyya, 30, and Adamu Adamu, 24.

“In Adamawa, operatives arrested two trans-border traffickers, Abdullahi Mamuda (aka Mama) and Aliyu Abdullahi (aka Garga) at Skylight Hotel in Jambutu, Yola North,” he said.

According to him, “A search on the ash-coloured Toyota Corolla car with registration number JMT 146 TE (Adamawa), revealed they were carrying 39, 320 tablets of Tramadol weighing 225mg,” he said.

Babafemi said that preliminary investigation showed that the trans-border traffickers took off from Onitsha in Anambra and travelled to Jimeta, Adamawa enroute Cameroun before their arrest.

In Ondo State, he said that the agency stormed a two-bedroom bungalow in Uso Community on Oct. 28, where they arrested one Okon Etim, 45, with 12 bags of cannabis Sativa weighing 207kgs.



Health and Safety

650 migrants reach Italy by boat, 190 rescued



650 migrants reach Italy by boat, 190 rescued

 About 650 migrants reached the Italian coast in a fishing boat, the latest in increasing attempts to reach the country.

The boat which was about 30 metres long and overloaded, arrived in the southern town of Roccella Ionica, the Italian news agency ANSA reported on Monday.

The report said the boat departed from Libya and its passengers had been travelling for five days.

The passengers were all men who came from Syria, Pakistan, Egypt and Bangladesh, ANSA said.

They reached the Calabrian town unaided, without the involvement of the coast guard or civilian sea rescuers.

Thousands of people arrived in Italy over the weekend. Dozens of others died in the attempt or went missing because their boats capsized.

Meanwhile, the aid organisation Doctors Without Borders brought 190 Mediterranean migrants ashore to the southern Italian city of Bari.

The group’s Geo Barents vessel reached the port on the Adriatic coast previously assigned by Italian authorities late on Sunday afternoon, it said.

The ship picked up people on Friday from an unseaworthy wooden boat, including several unaccompanied minors.

However, many people repeatedly try to reach Lampedusa, Malta, Sicily or the Italian mainland by boats from Tunisia and Libya, crossing the central Mediterranean Sea in a potentially deadly journey.

According to official figures, Italy has already registered more than 21,000 boat migrants since the beginning of January, or more than three times the number of migrants seen in each of the two previous years, when about 6,000 per year arrived.

– dpa

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Health and Safety

African migrants stuck in Tunisia say racism persists, following weeks of crackdown



African migrants stuck in Tunisia say racism persists, following weeks of crackdown

African Migrants in Tunisia have urged their government to evacuate them, saying the country is no longer safe as racism still persists.

Outside the United Nations refugee agency in Tunis, dozens of African migrants stood protesting this week in the temporary camp where they have lived, including with children, since authorities urged landlords to force them from their homes.

Weeks after a violent crackdown on migrants in Tunisia that triggered a perilous rush to leave by smuggler boats for Italy, many African nationals are still homeless and jobless and some say they still face racist attacks.

“We need evacuation. Tunisia is not safe. No one has a future here when you have this colour. It is a crime to have this colour,” said Josephus Thomas, pointing to the skin on his forearm.

In announcing the crackdown on Feb. 21, President Kais Saied said illegal immigration was a criminal conspiracy to change Tunisia’s demography, language the African Union described as “racialised hate speech”.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Barbara Leaf told Reuters on Thursday that Saied’s comments had unleashed “attacks and a tidal wave of racist rhetoric”, with rights groups saying hundreds of migrants reported being attacked or insulted.

Saied and Tunisia’s foreign minister have rejected accusations that he or the government is racist and they announced steps to ease visa regulations for Africans and reminded police of anti-racism laws.

While the official crackdown appeared to end weeks ago, migrants say they still face abuse.

“People told me ‘since you are in our country after the president’s speech, don’t you have any dignity?’ I kept silent and they told me I am dirt,” said Awadhya Hasan Amine, a Sudanese refugee outside the UNHCR headquarters in Tunis.

Amine has lived in Tunis for five years after fleeing Sudan and then Libya with her husband. Now 30, she has been living on the street outside the UNHCR headquarters since local people pelted her house in the capital’s Road district with rocks.

“We want to live in a place of safety, stability and peace. We don’t want problems in Tunisia,” she said.

Although some West African countries evacuated hundreds of their citizens earlier this month, many remain stuck in Tunisia, unable to support themselves let alone afford passage home or pay smugglers hundreds of dollars to ferry them to Europe.

“Tunisia is an African country. Why do they do racist things to us?” said Moumin Sou, from Mali, who was sacked from his job working behind a bar after the president’s speech and was beaten up the next day by a man in the street who stole his money.

Sou wants to return home, he said, but many others are determined to travel on to Europe.

In the wake of the crackdown, in which police detained hundreds of undocumented migrants and authorities urged employers to lay them off and landlords to evict them, smuggler crossings to Italy have surged.

Tunisian National Guard official Houssem Jbeli said on Wednesday that the coast guard had stopped 30 boats carrying more than 2,000 people. On the same day and the following day four boats sank, with five people drowned. 

– Reuters

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Health and Safety

NAFDAC urges journalists to join in fight against circulation, use of bleaching creams 



NAFDAC urges journalists to join in fight against circulation, use of bleaching creams 

 The National Agency For Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has urged journalists to collaborate with the agency in the fight against the circulation and use of bleaching creams in the country.

Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General (D-G), NAFDAC, made the call while sensitising journalists in the North Central States on the dangers of bleaching creams.

She made the call at a North Central Zonal Media Sensitisation Workshop on the dangers of bleaching creams and regulatory controls which was organised for the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists on Friday in Jos.

Adeyeye said the workshop was aimed at educating and challenging health journalists in Nigeria to play frontline role in the agency’s effort to eradicate the menace of bleaching creams.

The D-G was represented by Dr. Leonard Omokpariola, Director, Chemical Evaluation and Research of the Agency.

 “Bleaching creams damage vital organs in the body, cause skin irritation, allergy, skin burn, rashes, wrinkles and prolong the healing of wounds.

“Black is beautiful, we don’t need to change our color.

“NAFDAC will constantly engage the mass media as we strive to bring down to the grass root levels positive impact of our regulatory activities,” she said.

On his part, Dr. Abubakar Jimoh, Director,  Public Affairs of the Agency, said: “The workshop was meant to educate the mass media with the right information and campaign against the use of bleaching creams in Nigeria.

“Public ignorance is not an excuse before the law. The role of the mass media in the promotion of public health is very important not only for cosmetics and all other NAFDAC regulatory products”. 

In a remark, Mr. Hassan Zaggi, President, Association of Nigeria Health Journalists, said: “Skin bleaching cream is a serious concern among the citizens in the country.

“Why would somebody use his hard-earned money to buy a cream that will endanger his skin?.

“As journalists, we have a responsibility to educate people on the dangers and as well shape the opinion of the people,” Zaggi said.

He appealed to the journalists to pay attention to the workshop for onward circulation of learning outcomes to members of the public. 

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