Barely 24 hours after the the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), commenced a total clampdown on illegal sale and use of nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas, which has become the latest source of abuse as recreational drug, operatives of the anti-narcotics agency have intercepted over 64,863.5 kilogrammes consignments of the gaseous substance at the Apapa seaport in Lagos and in Imo state.
A statement by the spokesman of the agency, Femi Babafemi read that following credible intelligence, NDLEA operatives at the Apapa seaport on Wednesday intercepted two containers marked MSKU 7626856 and MSKU 7689448 suspected to contain cartons of nitrous oxide and plastic pressure release nozzles imported from China, this led to a joint examination of the containers by NDLEA officers, men of the Customs Service and other stakeholders the following day, Thursday during the search of the two containers, a total of 522 cartons of nitrous oxide, containing 16,366 packages weighing 64,852 kilogrammes were recovered along with the paraphernalia for recreational use.
He disclosed that the importer of the consignment, 30-year-old Stephen Eze and his agent, Michael Chukwuma were thereafter arrested and detained for further investigation.
In the same vein, NDLEA operatives on patrol along Owerri – Onitsha expressway in Imo state on Thursday intercepted three cartons containing 18 canisters of the same substance weighing 11.5 kilogrammes heading to Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
According to Babafemi, 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.
Meanwhile, while commending the officers and men of the Apapa Port, and their Imo state Command counterparts for being pro-active and swift, 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 equally commended the cooperation of other sister security agencies and stakeholders towards achieving the set objective.Michael Olugbode in Abuja