In a shocking turn of events, the Center for Democracy and Human Rights has expressed deep concern regarding what it calls “lip service” from the national drug law enforcement agency, NDLEA, in the fight against drug trafficking. The group’s latest criticism comes after witnessing the notorious drug baron, Afam Mallission Ukatu, being given a prominent role as a co-launcher at a religious event held on Oba Akinjobi road in Ikeja GRA, Lagos, on Sunday, June 4, 2023.

The Center for Democracy and Human Rights revealed that the same billionaire drug baron, whom the NDLEA publicly declared had imported drugs worth 22 billion Naira into Nigeria during a press conference in May 2022, is now freely socializing and participating in lavish events across Lagos and other parts of the country.

A spokesperson for the group, Adebayo Lion Ogorry, stated on Sunday, “Allowing Ukatu to roam freely after the NDLEA staged such a publicized event to announce his arrest would undoubtedly render the so-called war against drug trafficking meaningless.”

According to the group, this billionaire baron has been enjoying his freedom since last year when he even conducted a thanksgiving ceremony in a church last November. Shockingly, he recently held the position of Chief Co-Launcher at the 2023 Harvest launch organized by a religious body.

The Center for Democracy and Human Rights strongly condemned the tactics employed by the NDLEA, particularly highlighting the case of the police IRT and Abba Kyari, who arrested two international drug traffickers at the Enugu Airport. These officers are still being detained under false allegations of tampering with the drugs they recovered and transferred to the NDLEA.

In an alarming development, the main criminals involved in the case, the international drug traffickers arrested by the police IRT and subsequently transferred to the NDLEA with the drugs, were released from Suleja Prison on May 19, 2023. After just 16 months of imprisonment, they are now free to continue their drug business. It is indeed a mockery of the fight against drug trafficking.

Furthermore, the group emphasized that it had previously alerted the Nigerian government to the fact that the indicted NDLEA officers at the Enugu Airport and the drug baron responsible for the massive influx of drugs through that airport, Patrick Chukwujekwu, were all at large due to a lack of action against them. Despite written and video confessions by the international drug traffickers arrested by the police IRT and transferred to the NDLEA, no action has been taken.

The Center for Democracy and Human Rights urgently called upon President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to take swift action by conducting a forensic investigation into the NDLEA, utilizing neutral security agencies such as the DSS and EFCC. The written and video confessions of the arrested international drug traffickers clearly expose the NDLEA’s practice of accepting 10 million Naira from each trafficker bringing heavy drugs into Nigeria, while only arresting and exposing the drug barons and traffickers who refuse to pay them.

“The illicit drugs are causing immense harm to millions of Nigerians, and this cannot be allowed to continue,” asserted the group. “An agency entrusted with fighting this menace must not compromise the battle. It is imperative that the government investigates thoroughly and holds accountable those found guilty, serving as a strong deterrent against such actions in the future.”