The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has announced the arrest of a Nigerian “billionaire drug baron”.
The suspect is Chief Afam Mallinson Emmanuel Ukatu, Chairman of Mallinson Group.
A statement on Monday by NDLEA Media Director, Femi Babafemi said he is behind the N3 billion Tramadol deal involving Abba Kyari.
After months of surveillance and evading arrest, Ukatu who is Chairman of Mallinson Group of Companies has eventually nabbed onboard a flight to Abuja at the MM2 terminal of the Lagos airport, Ikeja on Wednesday, April 13.
Investigations reveal he has been a major importer of large consignments of different brands and high dosages of Tramadol Hydrochloride, ranging from 120mg, 200mg, 225mg, and 250mg, all of which are illicit.
It was gathered that Ukatu owns pharmaceutical and plastic manufacturing companies, which he used as a cover to import illicit drugs into Nigeria.
This is in addition to operating 103 bank accounts, most of which are used to launder money.
Ukatu came under watch last year after five cartons of Tramadol 225mg were seized from his staff on May 4, 2021, when he sent them to sell to undercover police officers (unknown to Ukatu) from the then Kyari-led IRT of the Nigeria Police, Ikeja Lagos.
The price of a carton of Tramadol was negotiated at N17million each as against the then black market value that ranged between N18million and N20million a carton in Lagos.
Following the arrest of his staff: Pius Enidom and Sunday Ibekwete, Kyaris men were led by the suspects to Mallinson’s warehouse at Ojota in Lagos where 197 additional Cartons of Tramadol 225mg were seized by the IRT Team. The monetary value of the 202 cartons of Tramadol seized from Mallinson in one day was over N3billion.
Three weeks after the seizure, Kyari’s IRT team transferred only 12 Cartons of the Tramadol with one truck and a suspect to the Lagos Command of the NDLEA, leaving 190 cartons unaccounted for.
After over eight months of following the lead, anti-narcotic officers of the Agency eventually arrested Ukatu at the Lagos airport on April 13, 2022.
Kyari and four top members of his team are already facing trial for a different but similar offense at a Federal High Court in Abuja.