The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has apprehended the man behind the N3 billion tramadol linked to suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari.
The suspect, Chief Afam Mallinson Emmanuel Ukatu was nabbed at the domestic wing of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos.
Mr. Ukatu who is also the Chairman of Mallinson Group of Companies, has reportedly been evading arrest.
Intelligence has revealed he has been a major importer of illicit high doses and different variants of Tramadol Hydrochloride, ranging from 120mg, 200mg, 225mg and 250mg.
He has been using the pharmaceutical and plastic manufacturing companies he owns 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.
The Drug Agency started investigating him after five cartons of Tramadol 225mg were seized from his staff on 4th May 2021 when a supply was sent to be sold to undercover police officers (unknown to Ukatu) from the then Kyari-led IRT of the Nigeria Police, Ikeja Lagos.
People’s Gazette reported that the price of a carton of Tramadol was negotiated at N17 million each as against the then black market value that ranged between N18 million and N20 million for a carton in Lagos.
After the arrest of Ukatu’s staff: Pius Enidom and Sunday Ibekwete, Kyaris men were then 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 N3 billion.Three weeks after the seizure, the Kyari 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 13th April 2022. Kyari and four top members of his team are already facing trial for a different but similar offence at a Federal High Court in Abuja.
Director, Media & Advocacy
NDLEA Headquarters, Abuja
Monday 25th April 2022