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A billionaire drug baron behind the N3billion Tramadol deal involving the embattled suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari-led Intelligence Response Team, IRT, Chief Afam Mallinson Emmanuel Ukatu, has been arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), according to authorities.

Chief Afam Ukatu, who is the Chairman of Mallinson Group of Companies, was nabbed onboard a flight to Abuja at the MM2 terminal of the Lagos Airport, Ikeja, on Wednesday, 13th of April, 2022.

According to NDLEA, Ukatu owns pharmaceutical and plastic manufacturing companies he uses as a cover to import illicit drugs into Nigeria and operates 103 bank accounts, mostly used to launder money.

The Director, Media & Advocacy, NDLEA Headquarters, Femi Babafemi, made this development known in a statement issued on Monday.

“Investigations reveal he has been a major importer of large consignments of different brands and high dosages of Tramadol Hydrochloride, ranging from 120mg, 200mg, 225mg, and 250mg. Ukatu owns pharmaceutical and plastic manufacturing companies, which he used 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.

“Ukatu came under watch last year after five cartons of Tramadol 225mg were seized from his staff on 4th May 2021 when he sent them to sell to undercover Police Officers (unknown to Ukatu) from the then Kyari-led IRT of the Nigeria Police, Ikeja Lagos. The price of a carton of Tramadol was negotiated at N17million each as against the then black market value that ranged between N18million and N20million a carton in Lagos.

“After the arrest of Ukatu’s staff, identified as 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 N3billion.

“Three weeks after the seizure, the Kyaris 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,” the statement read.

Abba Kyari and four other Senior Police Officers attached to IRT are facing trial for a case involving cocaine trafficking at a Federal High Court in Abuja. They have been remanded at Kuje Correctional Centre pending the outcome of their trial.

The Agency apprehended Abba Kyari after he initiated a call to one of the NDLEA Officers in Abuja proposing a 25kg cocaine deal whereby he and his team would take 15kg of the cocaine and leave 10kg for the prosecution of the suspects arrested with the illicit drug in Enugu.

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