Patent medicine dealer gets 4 years in jail for Tramadol trade

A Kano-based patent medicine dealer has been sentenced to a four-year prison term with an option of N450,000 fine for stockpiling a large consignment of Tramadol Hydrochloride.

Gerald Ohuruzo, 42, was arrested at the Sabon Gari market after his secret warehouse was discovered by officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency working on a tip-off.

Mr. Ohuruzo pleaded guilty on Monday before Judge F.O Riman, the anti-narcotics agency said in a statement Friday.

“The recovered drugs in his warehouse weighed 1,369 kilogrammes,” Hamza Umar, the NDLEA Kano State Commander said in the statement.

“The command had earlier detected a warehouse where Tramadol Hydrochloride weighing 6,264kg was seized.

“Our investigators are working towards a safe and drug-free society.”

Tramadol, a prescription drug for pain relief, is one of the most abused drugs in northern Nigeria.

Mr. Umar said the agency also arrested 94 other suspected drug traffickers in November with 247.715kg of cannabis, 6,270.677kg of psychotropic substances, and 6.6 grammes of cocaine.

Mr. Ohuruzo, who hails from Imo State, said he was involved in dealing in Tramadol due to its high demand in the city.

“This is a mistake on my part,” said the father of four.

“Though I began to deal in Tramadol due to the high demand, I should have resisted the temptation to sell such drugs. I have never been arrested and I feel very bad.”

Roli Bode-George, NDLEA’s Acting Chairman, said the large seizures of narcotic drugs in Kano was worrisome and the agency would begin enlightenment campaign programmes.

“The large seizures of Tramadol Hydrochloride is very disturbing,” said Mrs. Bode-George.

“We are going to address the situation scientifically by combining drug seizures with drug demand reduction activities in the coming year.

“We hope to provide anti-drug abuse counselling services and rehabilitation for those with drug abuse problem.”

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