…Seizes $269,000 fake dollars, nabs 3 syndicate members in joint operation with EFCC in Lagos
Barely hours after the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) vowed to make life tough for drug barons and cartels in the new year if they fail to back out of the illicit trade, operatives of the Agency have dealt a lethal blow to a cluster of cannabis syndicates operating in the Opuje forests in Edo state where massive warehouses and tents storing over 317,417 kilograms (317.4 metric tons) of the psychoactive substance were destroyed and set ablaze in a two-day operation.
At least, a police impersonator, Omoruan Theophilus, 37, who parades as a Police Inspector to convey the drugs from the forests to the cities and three others: Aigberuan Jacob, 42; Ekeinde Anthony Zaza, 53, and Naomi Patience Ohiewere, 42, were arrested in connection with the drugs.
The Opuje community in Owan West Local Government Area, Edo State, is notorious for cannabis cultivation, where the cartels invest huge resources, cutting down economic trees of the forest reserves and cultivating cannabis on a large scale, running into hundreds of hectares.
After harvest, they build warehouses inside the forest reserves and employ the services of armed youths to protect the warehouses 24/7.
Accessing the forest on Wednesday 18th January took hours of trekking by hundreds of NDLEA operatives who were ambushed with bonfire by armed youths on their way out of the community the following day but were able to successfully leave the area without any casualty except the heavy investment losses inflicted on the cartels.
In the same vein, the Agency on Thursday 19th January through intelligence received from the Drug Enforcement Administration of the United States busted a criminal syndicate involved in the trafficking of fake USD currency in Lagos.
During a combined operation carried out by NDLEA operatives with their EFCC colleagues, a total of $269,000 counterfeit US dollars were recovered from the syndicate at Oniru Shoprite area of Lekki, Lagos, where three suspects were arrested.
While commending all the officers involved in the two special operations in Edo and Lagos for their professionalism and commitment, Gen. Marwa has since directed that the fake dollars recovered and suspects arrested in the Lekki operation be immediately transferred to the EFCC for possible prosecution.
Police arrest two with fake new Naira Notes
Police Operatives serving in Igbo-Eze South Division of Enugu State Command, on Thursday, February 2, have arrested one Joseph Chinenye aged 39 and Onyeka Kenneth Ezeja aged 29, both male and respectively of Iheakpu-Awka in Igbo-Eze South LGA and Onicha Enugu-Ezike in Igbo-Eze North LGA, for allegedly being in possession of suspected counterfeited one hundred and eighty (180) pieces of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) newly redesigned one thousand naira (N1,000) notes, with face value of one hundred and eighty thousand naira (N180,000.00).
The Naira swap introduced by the Federal Government through the Central Bank has continued to bring out different colours from Nigerians.
From students beating soldiers in UniBen, to people fighting at ATM points. From people fighting in banking halls to Ibadan people protesting at Iwo Road.
A statement released by the spokesperson of the state police command, DSP Daniel Ndukwe, says preliminary investigation shows, among other things, that the notes, which are in three separate batches, bear the same serial numbers of A/34:282656, A/46:578759 and 8/93:852942; while the suspects claimed to have secured the counterfeited Naira notes from an unidentified woman in Benin, Edo State.
“They confessed to attempting to sell the notes to a POS operator, who rejected them, before the Operatives arrested them at a Filling Station in Ibagwa-Aka community of Igbo-Eze LGA, where they used the notes to purchase petrol. The duo will be arraigned in court upon consolidation and conclusion of investigation into the case by the State CID Enugu.” Ndukwe said
He added that the state Commissioner of Police, CP Ahmed Ammani, has reassured the commitment of the Police to fish out and bring to book, criminal elements hellbent on perpetrating such acts of economic sabotage. He advised the masses to be vigilant when carrying out transactions with Naira notes, especially the new ones.
Suspected herders kill six in Benue, injure soldiers
Suspected armed herders at the weekend launched another attack on some communities in Benue State killing six people and injuring three soldiers.
The incident, according to locals, occurred at a border between the Tse-Abwa Mbapa council Ward in Gwer West and Ikobi in the Apa Local Government areas of the state.
The attack on Ikobi community was said to have started since last Thursday and ended on Saturday.
A source said, “On February 2, herdsmen gave a man called Usman Ochowechi a machete cut on his farm close to his village of Oloke in Ikobi and they passed message through him that they would be coming.
“They carried out their threat. They attacked and killed two persons. One person, Miss Eba Usman, is still missing.
That was February 3 in Ikobi Ochekwu, Apa LGA, Benue. They came back on Saturday, February 4 and killed four persons in the same Ikobi.”
It was further gathered that following the attack, troops of Operation Whirl Stroke were deployed to the area to prevent further attacks.
Members of the community said the troops repelled the invaders.
“The OPWS troops were however ambushed by the killer herders in Mbappa, Gwer West Local Government Area of the state. The troops succeeded in overpowering the attackers and three soldiers sustained injuries,” the source added.
Confirming the attack, a member of the state House of Assembly representing Apa State Constituency, Abu Umoru, said, in the last six days, six people have been killed.”
When contacted, the state police command’s spokesperson, Catherine Anene, said she was not aware of the attack and advised our correspondent to talk to the military.
Meanwhile, the Public Relations Officer of Operation Whirl Stroke, Flight Lt. Audu Katty, who confirmed that three soldiers sustained injuries, was silent on the casualties from the communities.
In a statement sent to our correspondent, the OPWS spokesman said, “We received information about an attack on Ikobi community on the February, 4, 2023 at about 5pm and responded immediately.
“The gallant troops moved to the area and cleared the community. The rampaging armed herders fled towards Nasarawa State on sighting the troops. The situation though dicey has been stabilised.
“The operation continued the next day February, 5, 2023 in adjoining communities. While the troops were moving towards Agagbe, they had contact with some bandits.
The bandits fired at the troops and our troops engaged them with superior fire power that lasted for about 30 minutes.
Three of our troops sustained various degrees of injuries. The injured troops are currently receiving treatment.”
Three die as gunmen invade Plateau village
Three persons were on Monday confirmed dead after gunmen attacked Maiyanga community in Bokkos Local Government Area of Plateau State.
One of the deceased was identified as Maham Maram, a retired police officer.
It was gathered that two other persons sustained injuries during the attack which occurred on Sunday night.
A resident of the community, Bulus Sule, who confirmed the attack to PUNCH Metro in Jos, the state capital, on Monday, said those injured had been evacuated to the hospital where they are currently receiving treatment.
Sule said, “It was last (Sunday) night that the gunmen came and attacked the people in Maiyanga community.
“They shot three persons dead while two persons sustained ais in pains.”
Another resident of the community, who identified himself simply as Ilya for security reasons, condemned the attack.
Ilya said the incident had been reported to security agents who he said arrived the community some hours after the gunmen had fled the scene.
He called on the government to beef up security in the community to forestall further attack.
Spokesman for the state police command, Alabo Alfred, who also confirmed the death of the three victims, however said efforts were ongoing to arrest the perpetrators.
Alfred said, “There was an attack on the village last night and from the report I received, three people were killed while two others were injured and are responding to treatment.
“Our men have been sent to the village with assistance from soldiers and they are combing everywhere in the bush searching for those who carried out the attack.
“We will make sure that we get the people responsible for the killing. All we want from the public is timely information so that we can take action immediately in this kind of situation.”
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