By G9ija

There is an ongoing social media conspiracy theory in regard of the September 19, 2022 drums of cocaine, weighing over 2.1 tons and valued at more than 200 billion naira in street value, seized by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA in a residential estate in Ikorodu area of Lagos.

One cannot but be troubled at times seeing the rate at which misinformation and disinformation spread on the internet.

I came across some series of social media post ranging from attempts to link persons who are not suspects in the drug bust to outright falsehood that all the drug exhibits seized had been burnt by the Agency purportedly to destroy evidence needed to prosecute the case.

My simple search on google indeed put a lie to all of those narratives and the only conclusion I could draw was that indeed there must have been some deliberate attempt by the netizens to spew those lies obviously for political reasons.

One would expect that at any given instance, a social media user that is neither representing nor quoting any credible source or a known media house would at the minimal least carry out some sort of basic research on “Google,” and what is there to find on the internet’s super highway storage cloud: tons of information, sequentially arranged to give a kindergarten pupil clear and precise history on what happened, how it happened and where to verify any missing link.

On this matter, a google search reveals that on September 18, 2022 in Lagos State, the NDLEA officers carried out a two day simultaneous operation in a concluding part of a four years drug dealing investigations with part intelligence provided by the US-DEA, which led to a cocaine warehouse bust in the Ikorodu area.

The operations according to media reports recorded the arrest of five suspects with one from Ondo, two from Oyo, one from Anambra State and one from Kingston, Jamaica, all arrested from various hideouts including a hotel. A seizure of 1,852 blocks of cocaine weighing 2.1 tons was reported to have been made. Reports showed that NDLEA charged the suspects to court soon after.

But prior to the arraignment, the Agency on September 23, 2022 secured an order from Justice D.E. Osiagor of the Federal High Court in Lagos to publicly burn and destroy 1,828 slabs of the cocaine. However, it was recorded that publicly tested samples of the cocaine substance were taken from the 1,852 slabs of cocaine and burnt publicly, keeping 27kg of the cocaine for the prosecution of the case as directed by Justice Osiagor.

Present at the public destruction in Badagry were key public figures and other stakeholders in the case, including the representative of the Lagos State Governor, the Federal High Court officials, Oba Akran of Badagry , Nigerian Customs, Nigerian Army, Nigerian Police , the five arrested suspects and some members of the UK’s National Crime Agency and US-DEA. The matter is still in court with hearings ongoing.

Considering the massive efforts the NDLEA has put into its line of duty to get the Ikorodu cocaine warehouse bust case charged to court and the chronological records available in the public domain through the media, I don’t see any reason for the conspiracy theory I was seeing online recently. I don’t foresee any case of corpus-delicti , contamination or spoliation of the evidence in convicting the five defendants in the matter.

Though this particular case is considered a major cocaine seizure in the history of the NDLEA but it is not particularly the first. We should not forget about the pending cocaine deal trial of the suspended DCP Abba Kyari before the Federal High court in Maitama Abuja; a water tight case that is under the vigilant eyes of the NDLEA leadership.

Naturally, a case that is before a competent court of law shouldn’t have been a matter for internet trolls in their conspiracy theory. This should be considered a joke taken too far in the first place, putting into cognisance the efforts the Buba Marwa leadership has put in place to reposition the NDLEA into a world class anti narcotic agency.

My take is that people should uphold the tenets of imbibing integrity in what they post, like, retweet and share on the internet. We should deliberately strive towards fighting against fake news, disinformation and misinformation; in doing this, we naturally help to bring back sanity to our social media spaces and society; and of course, this will demonstrate our desire to maintain peace for the national unity we seek as a nation.

To internet trolls, it is clear to me that these people are likely to be verified non entities. Either way, they all need to read this and put a stop to the smear; for a popular saying states that “wisdom is profitable to direct,” but in my view I will say intelligence and comprehension are beneficial to possess.