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Senior NDLEA Officers Accused Of Involvement In Billion Naira Drug Trade

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Some aggrieved officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, have revealed how a Deputy Commander General and several senior officers in the agency allegedly used their positions to accept bribes running into billions of naira.

Several former officials sacked by the Agency, some for not cooperating on dirty deals, others for leaking vital information of corruption, have leaked vital documents revealing strong links between some senior officers led by the Commander and some drug barons involved in international drug trade.

One of the court cases involved a former operative, whose last place of posting was Yobe State command.

A 55-page court affidavit deposed at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria in Abuja, is marked NICN/Abj/248/2022 and filed on August 15, 2022 between William Olubukola Olanrewaju Vs The Chairman, NDLEA & 4 Ors, Olanrewaju.

He alleged that Sunday Zirangey, Deputy Commander General of Narcotics, headed his unit which compromised war against drug trafficking, collecting bribes on a regular basis.

Zirangey was accused of using his position to enrich himself such that he acquired multi-million-naira properties in Abuja, Lagos and Adamawa where he comes from.

Olanrewaju alleged that because he alongside many other officers refused to compromise like Sunday Zirangey, the head of the unit, Zirangey, punished him and hurriedly posted him to Yobe State Command, Damaturu interdiction points, with posting references of NDLEA/FIN/88/VOL. VII/237 and NDLEA/ADM/131/VOL.XIII/450 respectively.

The NDLEA was listed as the first defendant while the National Chairman of the Agency, Buba Marwa, was listed as the second defendant. Zirangey Sunday Drambi, Samuel Okereke Abarogu, Assistant Commander of Narcotic, ACN, and Taupyen Sunday, also ACN, were listed as 3rd, 4th and 5th respondents all of SET/SIU respectively.

The court affidavit explained that while working at the SET/SIU Lekki office at Professor Kiumi Akingbehin Street, Lekki, Lagos, the Claimant had issues with his senior officers over “their corrupt activities ranging from frustrating him from accessing vital information, collecting bribes from suspects, missing files, aiding and abetting, tampering with drugs seized, and seizure of drug from a drug courier and refusing to arrest the person caught with hard drug.”

The claimant accused the officers of using “one Barrister Benson Ndakara to extort arrested targets,” who “is not an employee of the NDLEA.”

Zirangey is alleged to visit Lagos regularly where he meets with drug barons and traffickers. His hotel accommodation is paid for by these barons.

He was alleged to have refused wiretapping Lagos Island so as not to expose the dirty deals while collecting monthly “bribes” from them. One of the drug barons (name withheld) was said to have paid him N25 million fee weeks ago.

The Court papers alleged that, “The corrupt officers always instructed the barrister to arrest suspects for extortion and promised them that their cases would be frustrated if they could pay them through the lawyer.

“Also, all SET/SIU arrested suspects used Barrister Benson Ndakara for their cases as the corrupt officers only advised/introduced arrested suspects to use Barrister Benson Ndakara as their lawyer.”

Court affidavit deposed to on oath stated “that on September 24, 2019, he and other officers of the 2 defendants, including, Azubuike Stella, Paul Dimgba, Tapgun Manjel, Attah Ifeanyichukwu, Chigorom Orji, and George Kehinde, collected 3 kilogramme of Heroin from one Charles Cole Osiyemi at Farm City Lounge, Lekki, close to SIU office in Lekki.”

He explained that he, alongside “Azubuike Stella, played the major role in the operation leading to interception of the Heroin from Charles, the drug courier.”

He explained in the court documents that on September 25, 2019, he asked Samuel Abarogu Okereke “what I will put in the investigation report but he told me not to write anything in the report because the 3kg of heroin would be kept for evidence in future arrest.”

Explaining that he was shocked, but that he quickly realised Samuel Abarogu Okereke and Sunday Zirangey “had tampered with the 3 kilogramme of Heroin. The 3 kilogramme of Heroin ought to have been taken to the NDLEA’s “Central Exhibit for safe keeping,” he said.

He further averred that Sunday Zirangey “was aiding and abetting as he refused to arrest Mr. Charles Cole Osiyemi the target, from whom the 3 kilogramme of heroin was intercepted,” adding that, this was in spite of the fact that he had provided “the details of his whereabouts in his Intelligence Report before the drug interception day.”

Olanrewaju also accused Sunday Zirangey of being responsible for some missing files at the SIU (Sensitive Investigative Unit) of the NDLEA office in Lekki, Lagos State.

He alleged that Sunday Zirangey “used his position as senior officer” to “extort money from suspects on trial in the courts of law. What he always does after extorting money from targets is that he would steal the case file of the targets from the SIU in order to put an end to their prosecution in the court.

“The case of one Olusegun Folorunso Ayodele (target) is one among several cases of missing files at the SIU, Lekki, Lagos. Olusegun Folorunso Ayodele is a clearing agent. He is a courier agent to drug traffickers. He was arrested and not prosecuted. He was released without proper Order.

“Olusegun Folorunso Ayodele’s case file got missing in order to hinder the prosecution of another drug trafficker by name, Uba Harris Etochukwu Alaekwe. Owing to the missing case file, one Irene Ehizibolo member of the SIU fled without trace till date,” court processes showed.

He accused Sunday Zirangey and others of killing suspects mysteriously once they were aware that he knew about the deals. Citing an example, he alleged that, “The case of one target named OSAMA (nickname) is one instance. Osama is a farm planter in Ondo State. He paid some money into the account of Omotoso Solomon Gbadebo. After paying the money, he was released, and immediately he was released, he died. Omotoso Solomon Gbadebo is one of the corrupt officers.”

Part of the court documents also alleged that in August 2019, Saheed Oyewole Akanbi, whom he described as “a notorious international drug traffickers” was also killed after he was aware of “Sunday Zirangey’s illegal deals, which also involved “one Sani Ibrahim Sani, the ACGN (the director of Admin and Establishment,” of the Agency.

He claimed in the court documents that Sunday Zirangey and his accomplices stopped him from investigating “one Mr. Tajudeen of Holland (residing in Mozambique as of 2019 and who also has a residence in Lekki, Lagos State.”

He prayed the court to declare as illegal his orderly room trial, that he is still validly in the service of NDLEA, a perpetual injunction restraining the NDLEA and it’s officers from further subjecting him to inhuman and degrading treatment as well as restoration of his monthly salary of eighty-two thousand naira (N82,000.00k) and the sum of thirty million naira (N30,000,000.00k) being compensation for violating his right to personal liberty as guaranteed by section 34 of Nigerian Constitution and Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Chapter AB (Chapter 10 LFN 1990) and Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948.

The affidavit further read that, “They saw him as a threat to their corrupt activities and so planned to get him out of the Unit, which they eventually did.

“The officers involved in the alleged corrupt practices are: a. Sunday Zirangey Drambi, with the rank of Deputy Commander General of Narcotics – DCGN (Director of Agency Intelligence); b. Kehinde Olubunmi George, with the rank of Chief Narcotic Agent – CNA; c. Samuel Okereke Abarogu, with the rank of Assistant Commander of Narcotic – ACN; d. Azeez Abiodun Lawal, with the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Narcotic 1 ASNI.”

Others are “Osifuye Femi Johnson, with the rank of Deputy Commander of Narcotics DCN, Desmond Ukeh, with the rank of Chief Narcotic Agent- CNA g. Attah Ifeanyichukwu, with the rank of Chief Narcotic Agent – CNA, and Jeff Alazigha, with the rank of Assistant Commander of Narcotic ACN.”

The rest are “Chigorom Orji, with the rank of Chief Narcotics Agent – CNA; Oguledo Anthony, with the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Narcotics II-AND II; and Omotoso Solomon Gbadebo, with the rank of Deputy Commander of Narcotics-DCN.”

But the Director of Media and Advocacy of the Agency, Femi Babafemi defended the agency saying Olanrewaju was “communicating with drug barons.”

He denied any wrongdoing on the part of NDLEA.

He had said Olanrewaju “Denied any involvement with the drug barons. It was later during the Orderly Room Trial when he was confronted with evidence that he admitted to his role especially in the case of Alhaji Wasiu Akinlade Alabama,” Babafemi had defended.

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