A joint operation by Nigerian and Ghanaian authorities to tackle drug trafficking and organized crime in the two countries over the past two months has resulted in the arrest of 22 suspects and seizure of large quantities of drugs.
The operation code-named ‘Operation Eagle’ was supported by two United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)-led projects funded by the European Union (EU). It was an operation conducted between the drug law enforcement agency in Ghana and the country’s National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
Speaking at a press conference on the success of the operation, National Project Officer, Outreach and Communications, UNODC Nigeria Country Office, Sylvester Tunde Atere, said apart from the suspects arrested, 15.7kg cocaine, 9.21kg heroin, 8.17kg methamphetamines, 596.338kg cannabis, 4kg of khat, 267 tramadol pills and $22,000 were seized at various interception points between the two countries.
According to him, the operation also yielded identification of 20 potentials victims of human trafficking and circulation of travel documents for potential use in illicit activities; information on the movement of high-value assets linked to money laundering, tax evasion modalities, and new methods of drug concealment and suspected cyber-related offences.
Atere said the exercise has reinforced the need to align actions and share intelligence between both countries to tackle the clandestine operations of organized criminal groups in order to enhance the efficiency of law enforcement responses.
Speaking on the rationale behind the cooperation, Director, Operations and General Investigation, NDLEA, Mabo Olugbenga, said transnational crimes transcend boundaries and if efforts were only concentrated in a particular country, the criminal-minded individuals or groups would simply relocate to another country to operate.UNODC law Enforcement expert, Marco Teixeira, added that the office has provided extensive capacity building, including technical skills to NDLEA and their counterparts in Ghana toward the common goals of dismantling criminals networks in both countries.