NDLEA intercepts 64,863kg ‘laughing gas’ in Lagos, Imo

OPERATIVES OF THE National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have intercepted over 64, 863.5kg of nitrous oxide, otherwise known as ‘laughing gas’, at the Apapa seaport in Lagos and in Imo State.

A statement by NDLEA Director, Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi on Friday, July 14, stated that the development followed an intelligence-based joint examination by the Agency’s operatives and officers of the Nigeria Customs Service.

Part of the statement read: “Following credible intelligence, NDLEA operatives at the Apapa seaport on Wednesday 12th July intercepted two containers marked MSKU 7626856 and MSKU 7689448 suspected to contain cartons of Nitrous oxide and plastic pressure release nozzles imported from China. As a result, a joint examination of the containers was carried out by NDLEA officers, men of the Customs Service and other stakeholders the following day, Thursday 13th July.     

“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.”

Similarly, NDLEA operatives on Thursday July 13, intercepted three cartons containing 18 canisters of the same substance weighing 11.5kg along the Owerri – Onitsha expressway in Imo State 

The suspects arrested with the consignment were heading to Port Harcourt, Rivers State, according to the statement.

“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.”

While commending the officers and men of the Apapa Port, and their Imo State Command counterparts for being pro-active and swift, NDLEA chairman Muhammed Buba Marwa said 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.

He also commended the cooperation of other sister security’s agencies and stakeholders towards achieving the set objective.

This recent development followed the directive issued by the NDLEA boss ordering a clampdown on illegal sale of nitrous oxide across the country.



    On July 11, Marwa directed all commands and formations of the Agency to begin an immediate clampdown on illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas following its abuse by people who use it for recreational purposes, 

    ”The NDLEA CEO directed all commands and formations of the agency to begin an immediate clampdown on the illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas following its abuse by people who use it for recreational purposes.

    “It is fast emerging as a drug in demand in Nigeria by young party-goers or fun-seekers to feel intoxicated or high. The gas is often transferred from its containers into balloons, where it’s inhaled.

    “The decision to clampdown on those involved in the illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide follows an analysis of the effects on those who abuse the substance, which include: dizziness; disorientation, headache; lightheadedness; fainting spells; hallucinations; falling unconscious and/or suffocating from lack of oxygen; and other neurological complications, especially psychiatric symptoms,” part of the statement read.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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