By Mahmud Isa Yola.
Save for the fact that the news came from the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency itself, Nigerians would have found it hard to believe that there is a prodigious amount of cocaine sequestered somewhere in the southwestern part of Nigeria that could weigh up to 1.8 tonnes and be worth up to two hundred and seventy-eight million, two hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($278, 250,000), equivalent to one hundred and ninety-four billion, seven hundred and seventy-five million Naira in street value.
Since the assumption of Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (rtd) as the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA has been recording feats upon feats in the war against drug abuse on a daily basis.
There’s seldom a day that passes without the news that the agency has made a significant seizure of illicit substances or has made arrests of drug traffickers. It almost looks like the traffickers are now competing for fame through making headlines.
Murphy’s law should have simply been enough to stop the cartel that stashed cosmic cocaine in Nigeria’s centre of excellence. But they doused themselves in ashes and blocked their vision of the impending peril. Lo and behold, the NDLEA, which had been on their trail since 2018, caught up with them, and this time, with a massive score that Nigeria had never witnessed before.
According to the NDLEA, this is the largest single cocaine seizure in the agency’s history. The press release, which was signed by the agency’s Director of Media and Advocacy, reads in part: “In what appears to be the biggest singular cocaine seizure in the history of Nigeria’s premier anti-narcotic agency, operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, have busted a major warehouse in the Ikorodu area of Lagos where 1.8 tonnes (1,855 kilograms) of the illicit drug worth more than Two Hundred and Seventy Eight Million, Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars ($278, 250,000) equivalent of about One Hundred and Ninety-Fifty) Naira in street value were seized.”
According to the agency, at least four drug barons, including a Jamaican and the warehouse manager, were apprehended over the course of two days in various places around Lagos state. Soji Jibril, 69, an indigene of Ibadan, Oyo state; Emmanuel Chukwu, 65, an indigene of Ekwulobia, Anambra state; Wasiu Akinade, 53, an indigene of Ibadan, Oyo state; Sunday Oguntelure, 53, an indigene of Okitipupa, Ondo state; and Kelvin Smith, 42, a native of Kingston, Jamaica. The arrested individuals are part of an international narcotics ring that the DEA has been investigating since 2018.
The warehouse, located at 6 Olukuola Crescent, Solebo Estate, Ikorodu, was raided on Sunday, September 18, 2022, while the barons were picked up from hotels and hideouts around Lagos between Sunday night and Monday morning.
The class A narcotics, according to preliminary findings, were cached in the residential estate, from which the cartel attempted to sell them to buyers in Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world.
Although NDLEA’s press release indicated that the busted drugs were meant for distribution to Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world, there is no guarantee that the drugs won’t be peddled internally in Nigeria. However the cartel intended to merchandise the illicit drug, this arrest and seizure deal a historical blow to illicit drug traffickers in Nigeria and a strong warning to international cartels that Nigeria is certainly not a trading ground.
This is the second time in less than two months that Marwa is rewriting history in Nigeria’s war against illicit drugs. Recall that the agency on the 4th of August 2022 destroyed 560,068.31414 kilograms of assorted illicit drugs in Badagry, Lagos state. The destruction broke history because it was the highest quantity of drugs to have been destroyed by the agency.
Leading other top officials of NDLEA, other security agencies and members of the public in the burning of heaps of illicit drugs in Lagos, Marwa, said the exercise is a strong message to drug barons and cartels that they’ll continue to lose their huge investments in the criminal trade if they fail to back out and look for other legitimate businesses.
It is therefore apparent that Marwa, who once swept the then notorious Lagos of criminality that was bedeviling the state, is rewriting history in Nigeria’s war against illicit drugs and trafficking. He has re-energized the NDLEA, which is now more sophisticated and unstoppable, and is bringing the war to the peddler’s doorstep, with major successes already recorded.
The statistics are not friendly to drug peddlers anymore. The losses that they suffer are spiking exponentially, and Nigeria is gradually winning the war.
Statistics coming out from the NDLEA indicate that since the assumption of Marwa as the Chairman of the agency, the agency has arrested over 18,940 suspected drug traffickers, comprising 17,444 males and 1,496 females, including 12 barons from January 2021 to July 2022.
Also, the agency recorded 2,904 convictions as well as seizures of over 3.6 million kilograms of narcotics and other psychotropic substances. The agency also said that it has seized no fewer than 286 assets and 600 accounts and has blocked over 600 accounts of drug offenders between January 2021 and August 2022.
Every kilogram of drug seized is one kilogram less on the street; every asset seized decapitates the drug business; every drug trafficker arrested weakens a link in the drug supply chain; and every conviction is a clear blow to drug syndicates.
The numbers above aren’t just indicators; they serve as a fierce warning to drug peddlers that it is no longer business as usual as the flaming swords of NDLEA are ever ready to strike them down. Certainly, Marwa is rewriting history, and it is not in the favour of drug offenders.
Mahmud Isa Yola is Special Assistant to the Chairman of NDLEA.
Wike’s Rejection Of Atiku Should Be Commended For Equity And Fair Play Matters Arising
By Osigwe Omo-Ikirodah
“I beg them today, they should not waste time to suspend me, they should call a National Executive Committee (NEC) – meeting – now and say ‘you are now suspended from the party. Anything you see, you take. They know what I will do.” Nyesom Wike Sep 23 2023.
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike’s decision to reject PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubarkar is no longer news. He claimed that Atiku and his party broke a gentleman’s agreement to return power to the South.
According to the Rivers State Governor, Atiku can no longer be trusted because of his inconsistencies; he claims the PDP presidential candidate is dishonest, unreliable, untrustworthy, and deceitful. He also slammed Iyorchia Ayu, calling him a “corrupt, arrogant, conceited, racist, power-hungry, anti-southern bigot.”
I’ve heard a lot of people argue for and against Wike’s actions, with some saying he shouldn’t take the roof off the house and others supporting every move Wike makes.
Some even went as far as saying that Wike has pitched his interest against the North and must suffer a backlash from his actions, fearing that the North would annihilate him.
The first question that came to mind was, “What is the North’s interest?”
The truth is that it is in the North’s best interests to relinquish power to the South; having a single region rule at the villa for 16 years back to back is nothing more than injustice and a violation of fair play rules.
Imagine the Ijaw men staying at the villa for 16 years stretch ; this portends that a single tribe will take over the running of the villa and, by extension, the country by DEFAULT.
I am from Edo State, so if I were to be elected president, there is a good chance that most of my advisors would be from the region of the South-South where I grew up, this is what we call by DEFAULT.
No one wants to work with people with whom they are uncomfortable, so what we call NEPOTISM in Nigeria is sometimes done by DEFAULT.
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The childhood friend I appointed goes on to recruit his own childhood friends as aides, allowing the majority of his geopolitical zone to gain closer access to him, this again is by default.
Fortunately for us, Tinubu grew up with people from all tribes and regions, which was reflected in his cabinet when he was Lagos State Governor.
Since Northerners actually believe in fair play and a national quota system that rotates the presidency in favor of all regions, it is no longer in the North’s best interest to hold onto power for another eight years.
The APC northern governors are Tinubu’s candidacy heroes because they insisted that power must go back to the South, they stood up for truth and fair play.
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Even Wike admitted as much when he stated that the APC Northern governors are more organized in terms of demanding fairness and equality than the PDP as a party.
Wike is fighting a battle for justice and fair play, and he is fighting for a party that has purposefully taken a full region, the South, for granted. “Injustice Anywhere Is A Threat To Justice Everywhere”.
Wike should be applauded not only by the APC, but also by the general public, because of his ideology of sticking to the truth and ensuring that it prevails.
You may not agree with his style or his loquacious mouth, but you “hypocritically” agree with his spending money on the same party while its presidential candidate was in distant Dubai attending to his self-interest and saving his own money to secure the party’s ticket on election day at the expense of fairness.
Wike has exposed the PDP presidential candidate and done significant damage to his reputation in the last few days, which the average voter ought to be fully cognizant of.
The Economist Intelligence has hinted that Tinubu will win the upcoming presidential elections, which highlights the legitimacy of Wike’s actions.
The APC and Tinubu would benefit if the governor of Rivers State supported a different party instead of the PDP.
If Wike supports the LP or any other party other than the APC, it will deplete Atiku’s vote and give the APC an advantage, and if Wike finally joins forces with the APC, which all indications point to, the election will be won before February next year.
Wike, in my opinion, is a potential APC hero for revealing the mask behind Atiku’s presidency.
My Name na Osigwe Omo-Ikirodah and na me b the Chairman and CEO of Bush Radio Academy.
On Queen Elizabeth’s Funeral Service: Observations and lessons for Africa
By Obi Chindo
The ‘whole world’ was present in the Queen’s burial service. Significantly, all the world leaders, political and religious heads from all over the world and from all walks of life were seated accordingly before the service began.
I observed there was no poster of the deceased queen, no order of service except that provided by the church, no sackcloth by the family of the queen (at least to identify her immediate family) and no Ashoebi for Queen’s family, well wishers and relatives.
The service was solemn and interestingly soul-mellowing. There was orderliness and organization. The military parade and match by the royal navy and others was nearly perfect and a top notch. They displayed expertise in the highest level.
Her children, grand and great grand children were all composed and comported, calmly sitted and flowing with the tempo of events. No stress on their faces as a result of running around for their mother’s burial.
The singing of hymns, chanting of psalms and canticle were like voices of many waters. There was no shouting, no noise, no repetition of words like ‘Praise God!’ ‘Hallelujah! Amen! Sons of the living God! Shout a big Hallelujah!
The homily which was delivered by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev’d and Rt. Hon Justin Welby did not last more than ten minutes. His opening prayer was less than ten seconds and he didn’t even say closing prayer. In fact I didn’t know he had finished preaching.
As a burial service that had many world leaders in attendance including muslims and other unbelievers, I expected a salvation message from the Archbishop so that those men will hear the true word of God for once. But no!
He didn’t even make reference with emphasis to any scripture let alone calling for altar call for those who wanted to give their lives to Christ. I expected the preacher to tell us more about the dead queen, her life and times but he didn’t do that.
No recognition of dignitaries in the service by the Archbishop of Canterbury. No special greetings whatsoever by the family of the bereaved. No collection of offering. No launching and fund raising in the burial service in support of the church. No announcement on where guests and visitors will be served food.
They knew why they gathered, did that exactly and dispersed. Altogether the service lasted an hour. No time for frivolities. Everything was well ordered and arranged. Her palace was not repainted to look new to the visitors. No gunshots were heard. No masquerade.
If as Africans we have nothing to learn from the queen’s burial, we must learn simplicity and avoid unnecessary wastage of finance and time during burials. We must discourage extravagant display and waste of resources during burials.
The church has a vital role to play in reducing a lot of financial burdens placed on people who are bereaved of their loved ones. Insisting that the family of the deceased should pay a certain amount of money before burial is not in the best interest of the church.
If we don’t redefine our concept of Christianity in Africa as simple, accommodating and devoid of ostentation we may continue to lose membership. We must leave Christianity as simple as it is meant to be where everyone is treated equally with love.
‘Giving honour to whom honour is due’ is good but it must not override our sense of duty and consciousness of time in a public worship. It must be closely watched to avoid eventual shift of our attention to human worship.
We must resist the temptation of raising money in church services when we see political money bags and dignitaries, more especially during burials and other services that are not originally intended for fund raising.
Rev’d Fr Obi Chindo: Prolocutor for the Poor and the Marginalized
Good governance key to substantial change in Nigeria—Boniface
A young advocate for good governance, Boniface Ogunti, expressed concern over the welfare of Nigerians and Africans ingeneral, as he maintained that good governance remains the key to effect positive and sustainable change the people yearn for, including other issues he spoke about with Kayode Sanni Arewa
Boniface. It’s so great to have you here. Thank you for being with us today. Can we have your bio data; dob, tribe, schools attended, local government area and other personal data?
Boniface Ogunti is 26years old and was born February 18th,1996. I am a Nigerian Liberian who was born and brought up in America, I went to Park center highschool, North Hennepin College in Minnesota
There aren’t many billionaires like Boniface Ogunti, who are both humble about their origins and committed to inspiring future billionaires. Tell us about what inspires you and generally about yourself?
I am not considered a billionaire in America but I am considered a Multi Millionaire. What inspires me is knowing where I came from, to make it out of where I came from you gotta be very creative. to be successful where i came from you had to be from a rich family or you played sports in America as i was an African being raised in America. I had to get around the right people for me to succeed Because my environment was set up for me to fail. That is why I am so committed to inspiring people who want to be successful because I know what it feels like .
Over time we have watched your business grow. Can you share your success journey with us? How many employees do you have currently?
I started out in Ecommerce, selling products on social media and I was able to generate over a million dollars in sales by unique advertising skills.. When I realized I had a unique advertising skill, I knew I had to capitalize on it, which led me to create my first company called “Current9” . Current9 business module was to help the everyday workers become their own boss by providing online workshops teaching these unique advertising skills so they can their businesses. Current9 became a global movement, i decided i had to give back to my Motherland “Africa” by creating “Ogunti Group” which resonates with where i come from. The Ogunti Group was created for investments and partnerships which I have been able to achieve, as I am in partnership with the Liberian government by providing trucks to transport Iron Ore and Palm Oil to other neighboring countries. Current9 has transitioned into “Circle Of Success” which now does educational/marketing events, empowering everyday people and entrepreneurs as a community of like minded individuals. i have currently have about 80 employees across all my businesses
We watched a video earlier where we learned a little bit about digital marketing and business growth, which we’ll speak about towards the later half of the interview, but we saw there that you are such a supporter and such an advocate of entrepreneurship, which isn’t really a surprise because of your ideology to life, but I’m curious to know how and why you decided to build businesses around digital marketing at a young age, what influenced you and impacted your journey?
As I was growing my business there were a lot of different Challenges i faced, atimes i felt discouraged to continue because I didn’t have all the required skill sets I have today. What kept me going was my principles I live by, which is; Know thyself, appreciation, relationship management, Mastering the basics..
What were some of the challenges that you faced during that time, and which leadership principles did you stay rooted in as you were guiding this process?
Can you give us the summary of your business journey; the challenges and the triumphs?
Seeing that you’ve set a standard in training people on how to build a successful business, and more people are coming to you for mentorship, do you ever worry that people will be disappointed?
I never worry about being disappointed as a Mentor because everyone has a current self and desired self and I KNOW that everyone is going to do a lot better than by themselves, due to the way my mentorship programs are built, you can never live the way you came .
What is your real mission in life and would you say you are getting there?
My Real mission in life is to do whatever God sent me here to do and to impact as many people God wants me to impact
Tell us about your future plans for Current9.com and the achievements so far?
So Current9.com is now Circleofsuccess.com which like i said earlier is a community of like minded individuals who are ready to become their own bosses and we at Circle of Success are here to help them achieve this goal. Our achievements so far has been that we have helped numerous people become financially free and independent
If you are made the president of your country, what are the first five things you would address and why?
if i am made the President of my country the first thing i would do is create s Structure of Governance, build Infrastructure and empower Entrepreneurs because without a proper structure of Governance there can never be any real or substantial change in a country, then infrastructure can come and empowering entrepreneurs is an investment in society as a whole
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