Nigeria’s NDLEA Targets Drug Kingpins in Major Crackdown, Seizes Billions in Illicit Drugs and Assets

by Ikem Emmanuel

In a major crackdown on transnational drug organizations, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) of Nigeria has apprehended two wanted drug kingpins, Okafor Williams and Hakeem Salami. The operation carried out after weeks of intelligence-led efforts across the country and beyond, resulted in the seizure of multi-billion-naira worth of illicit drugs and assets from the suspects.

The breakthrough in this operation came with the interception of consignments of cocaine and heroin concealed by traffickers at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja. These interceptions led to the identification and subsequent arrest of the drug lords.

Hakeem Salami, the alleged mastermind of the ‘Tajudeen Babatunde Abioye Transnational Criminal Organisation,’ was taken into custody at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos. This criminal network was involved in the illicit trade of narcotics such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and ephedrine across multiple countries, including Nigeria, Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, Mozambique, and Europe.

Salami had fled Nigeria to South Africa following the arrest of a syndicate member, Suleiman Oba, at the Lagos airport in August 2023. He was accused of attempting to export 25.10kg of ephedrine to South Africa.

With the help of South African authorities and various intelligence and investigative methods, Hakeem Salami was located in his hideout. This led to the seizure of luxury vehicles and the sealing of his home in Surulere, Lagos. Other members of the drug cartel, including Suleiman and Godwin Edet Mathew, were already in custody.


In a separate operation, Okafor Williams, also known as ‘Jantu,’ and his wife, Grace, were apprehended at their hideout in the Okota area of Lagos. The NDLEA operatives recovered 27.566kg of methamphetamine concealed in a blue box and two sacks, ready for export to Europe and Asia. A Lexus RX350 marked ABJ 512 AY parked at the house was also seized.


Nwofor Charles, attempting to board a Qatar Airways flight to Doha, was arrested on October 6 after a body scan revealed that he had ingested cocaine. During observation, he excreted 75 pellets of cocaine weighing 1.653kg and offered a bribe of $3,000 to an NDLEA officer in an attempt to secure his release.

On October 7, Nwufo Okwudili was arrested while trying to board a Lufthansa Airlines flight to Paris, France, via Frankfurt, Germany. After a body scan, he was taken to the recovery room, where he excreted 96 wraps of heroin with a total weight of 1.413kg.

In another development, NDLEA operatives patrolling along the Okene-Lokoja-Abuja expressway on October 10 intercepted a commercial bus traveling from Lagos to Kano. A search of the bus led to the seizure of $4,880,000 and CFA57,000,000 suspected to be counterfeits.

This successful operation demonstrates the NDLEA’s commitment to combatting drug trafficking and transnational criminal organizations in Nigeria and beyond. The agency continues to make significant strides in its efforts to curb the illicit drug trade and dismantle criminal networks.

Post Disclaimer

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author and forum participants on this website do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Anaedo Online or official policies of the Anaedo Online.


You may also like