–Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA) –From Mike SOGBOLO:
VIRGIN Mary statues are sentinels of grace placed to guard the heart; they are safe sanctuaries, symbols of the authentic devotion, and reciprocal love.
Mary’s role in Christian history represents faithfulness, devotion, humility, purity. But criminally minded, illicit drugs dealers in Nigeria have resorted to the sacrilegious use of statues of Mary to smuggle drugs abroad.
However, operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, have intercepted illicit drugs concealed in the statue of Mary and auto spare parts heading from Lagos to Canada and the United Arab Emirate, UAE.
The arresting officers were narcotics agents from the Directorate of Operations and General Investigations embedded in two courier companies in Lagos. They were able to seize 500 grammes of heroin going to Canada and hidden inside auto spare parts from one of the courier firms while 140 grammes of Methamphetamine going to Philippines and concealed inside statue of Mary was seized in another courier company.
The Director, Operations and General Investigations, Adeyemi Adeofe disclosed that “3.1 kg of cannabis going to UAE concealed inside spices, and another kilogramme of cannabis going to UAE concealed inside local herbs were intercepted and seized.”
A statement on Saturday by the spokesman of NDLEA, Femi Babafemi also revealed that the Ondo State Command of the Agency has in series of raids between 6th and 20th April, 2021, across the state arrested 31 suspects from whom 275.552kg of assorted illicit drugs were recovered.
He said the acting Commander of the state Command, Callys Alumona, said: “The sting operations were carried out to curb the increasing rate of drug abuse among the youths and even the elderly in Ondo State.”
According to him, the operations led to the arrest of 31 suspects, which include 24 males, and 7 females, with illicit drugs seized consisting of 74.3 kilogrammes of cannabis sativa, 267 grammes of psychotropic substances; 201 kilogrammes of skuchies (a combination of cannabis, tramadol, ethanol, and zobo), with many of the drug spots dismantled.
Also the operatives of the Akwa Ibom state Command of the Agency have intercepted and seized 62.2 kilogrammes of illicit drugs in Oron and Uyo areas of the state.
The state Commander of the NDLEA, Mrs. Obot Bassey said four suspects were arrested in two sting operations carried out on Thursday 22nd and Friday 23rd April, 2021.
Chairman/Chief Executive of the Agency, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (Retd) in his reaction commended the officers and men of Operations and General Investigations Directorate as well as those of Ondo and Akwa Ibom states for their steadfastness and commitment to the new operational maxim of offensive action.
He charged them to stay focused and do more to rid every part of the country of the scourge of drug abuse and trafficking.