The Nigerian Army yesterday handed over a suspected terrorist and 124 bags of substances suspected to be cannabis arrested at checkpoint mounted by troops of 176 Special Forces Guards Battalion at Abaji, an Abuja border town.
Lt.-Col Adeyinka Adereti made this disclosure to journalists yesterday in Abuja while handing over the driver of a J5 vehicle who was allegedly carrying 93 bags of substance suspected to be cannabis, or Indian hemp, to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for further investigations and prosecution.
Lt.-Col Adereti, who represented the Commander of Guards Brigade, Brigadier-General Emmanuel Jebe Atewe, said that one Mohammed Taheed was on Friday found loitering at the military checkpoint at Abaji and was sent away by soldiers manning the checkpoint, but the man turn round to attack the soldiers.
He said: “Unknown to the soldiers, the man turned round and hid in the nearby bush. At about 1410 hours (2pm) while the soldiers were engrossed in searching vehicles at the checkpoint, the man ran out from the bush and attempted to disarm one of the soldiers. A struggle ensued between him and the soldiers and he was subsequently overpowered. He has been in our custody since then.”
Speaking further, he disclosed that on Saturday, March 31, at the same spot, at about 9:10am, a J5 bus with registration number, Plateau XB 572 BLD, was arrested after it skipped the queue and sped past the checkpoint and almost knocked down one of the soldiers in the process, and this attracted their suspicion.
According to him, “The troops then pursued the vehicle. Seeing that there was no escape route for them, the driver and the other occupant in the car left the vehicle in the middle of the road and ran into a nearby bush. The soldiers combed the bush but all efforts to arrest the culprit failed. A thorough search of the vehicle revealed that it was conveying 31 bags of substances suspected to be cannabis. The bags were the 50kg type. This may have been the reason why the vehicle attempted to evade search at the check point. The bags containing the substances were covered with lots of plantain.”
On the same day, the officer disclosed, another J5 bus with registration number, Kaano XH 572 NSR, was discovered to be carrying 93 bags of substances suspected to be cannabis and, like the earlier one, “this vehicle also had plantain covering the substances.”
Adereti said the driver of the car, Adamu Mohammed, had claimed ignorance of the items and told them that the owner of the goods was waiting along the road to receive the items.
He, however, added that all efforts to lure the other culprits and get them arrested did not yield any positive result. He also said that the items were being taken to Abuja and Zaria.
Speaking at the handing over occasion, the public relations officer of the NDLEA, Peter Adegbe, estimated the cost each bag of the Indian hemp as N100,000, and a lot more if exported.
He noted that the proceeds were usually used to purchase the arms and ammunition being used by terrorists in some parts of the north.
He also gave assurance that the agency would conduct thorough investigations and diligent prosecution, even as he urged members of the public to cooperate with the agency in its bid to rid the society of criminals.????
LEADERSHIP recalls that the army had last month arrested 20 oil thieves with 14 trailers of the substance at the same Abaji checkpoint, and handed them over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further action.