How Kano’s lucrative drug market drove me to selling Codeine – Suspect

A suspected major distributor of Codeine cough syrups in Kano has told the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency that he was in the business because of the high profit margin.

Ikechukwu Ukwuoma, 34, said the Codeine business in the state sells fast and that he was only interested in the profit, the NDLEA said in a statement Friday.

“A bottle of codeine in Kano is twice the cost price in the east,” said Mr. Ukwuoma, who hails from Imo State and is married with three children.

“I did not know how the officers discovered my warehouse where the drugs were kept. I regret my action.”

Mr. Ukwuoma was among four Nigerians and a Malian arrested by the anti-narcotics agency in connection with illegal sales of 4,580 kilogrammes of psychotropic drugs in Kano.

Ikechukwu Ukwuoma
Ikechukwu Ukwuoma

The seized drugs comprising 2,592kgs of codeine cough syrups and 1,988kgs of tramadol were recovered from five secret warehouses located within the metropolis by officers of the Kano State command.

The arrest is part of efforts to reduce the sales and demand for psychotropic substances in the State, the NDLEA said.

The arrests include Mr. Ukwuoma, with 2,010kgs of codeine cough syrups; Nura Ibrahim, 30, caught with 886kgs of tramadol, and Zakari Muhammadi, a Malian, found with 850kgs of tramadol.


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Others are Ernest Asogwa, 34, caught with 582kgs of codeine syrup and Ikenna Osuizugba, 34, found in possession of 252kgs of tramadol.

The NDLEA said the arrests and seizures were made following intelligence report on the illicit drug activities of the suspects.

Ernest Asogwa
Ernest Asogwa

“The abuse of psychotropic drugs like codeine cough syrups and tramadol is prevalent among young people and married women in the State,” said Hamza Umar, NDLEA Kano State Commander.

“It is common to see iced bottles of codeine cough syrup instead of beverage drinks in a gathering of young people.”

Mr. Ibrahim, who hails from Nasarawa Local Government Area of Kano State, also attributed his involvement to quick turnover in the business.

For Mr. Muhammadi, who is married married to two wives with four children, friends were responsible for his involvement in drugs.

Messrs Asogwa and Osuizugba told officials that they decided to sell the drugs because of the profit involved.

Muhammad Abdallah, Chairman of the NDLEA, said the Agency is working hard to intensify its sensitization programmes in the State.

Zakari Muhammadi
Zakari Muhammadi

“The NDLEA is working assiduously to boost the sensitization efforts of the State command,” said Mr. Abdallah, a retired colonel.

“We are getting more families, schools, community groups and the media involved in this enlightenment programme.

“This is one important way of reducing the demand and supply for both codeine cough syrup and tramadol tablet taken by youths.”


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