The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) yesterday said that its investigators have discovered how a suspected drug baron, Chief Afam Mallinson Ukatu allegedly imported 1,284 cartons of Tramadol with a market value of over N22billion into the country in October 2021.
Spokesman Femi Babafemi, in a statement, was responding to claims in some quarters that the NDLEA has no evidence to pin a crime on Ukatu, the billionaire who is the Chairman/CEO of Mallinson Group of companies.
The statement reads, “Investigations reveal he’s 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. Ukatu owns pharmaceutical and plastic manufacturing companies, which he used as a cover to import illicit drugs into Nigeria.”
The Agency said that in the course of investigating the Ukatu-Abba Kyari’s IRT team N3billion Tramadol case, its operatives unearthed more evidences establishing how Ukatu has been importing large quantities of Tramadol far above the approved threshold allowed into the country.
“In one instance, Ukatu through his Mallinson Group of companies imported into the country two-conatiner loads of five different brands of Tramadol in October 2019 through the Apapa ports in Lagos. All the evidences so far gathered show that the imported Tramadol brands were far above the threshold permitted to be imported into Nigeria .No doubt the suspect will soon have his day in court,” the satatement said.
The NDLEA arrested Ukatu for allegedly being behind the N3billion Tramadol deal involving the suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, who led the defunct Intelligence Response Team (IRT).
Babafemi said after months of surveillance, Ukatu was eventually arrested on board a flight to Abuja at the MM2 terminal of the Lagos airport, Ikeja on Wednesday, April 13.