The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has seized over 64,863.5 kilograms of nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas” at the Apapa seaport in Lagos, and in Imo state. The NDLEA chairman, Buba Marwa, has ordered the arrest of sellers and users of the substance, which is fast becoming a drug in demand in Nigeria.
Following credible intelligence, NDLEA operatives at the Apapa seaport on Wednesday, July 12th intercepted two containers suspected to contain cartons of Nitrous oxide and plastic pressure release nozzles imported from China. A joint examination of the containers was carried out by NDLEA officers, men of the Customs Service, and other stakeholders the following day. During the search of the two containers, a total of 522 cartons of Nitrous Oxide, containing 16,366 packages weighing 64,852kgs were recovered 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.
In addition to this, NDLEA operatives on patrol along Owerri – Onitsha expressway in Imo state on Thursday 13th July intercepted three cartons containing 18 canisters of the same substance weighing 11.5kg heading to Port Harcourt, Rivers State. 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.
Marwa has commended the officers and men of the Apapa Port and their Imo state Command counterparts for being proactive and swift. He said that the clampdown on illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide will continue nationwide to protect young Nigerians from the devastating effects of abusing the substance and in the overall interest of public health.