The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), has apprehended Chief Afam Mallinson Emmanuel Ukatu, a billionaire drug baron behind the N3 billion tramadol deal involving the embattled suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Abba Kyari.
Disclosing Ukatu’s arrest in a statement addressed to members of the public on Monday, April 25, 2022, NDLEA Spokesperson Femi Babafemi said the suspect was finally nabbed following months of surveillance and evasion of arrest.
Ukatu, who is Chairman of Mallinson Group of Companies, according to Babafemi, was arrested onboard a flight to Abuja at the MM2 terminal of the Lagos airport, Ikeja on Wednesday, April 13, 2022.
While noting that Ukatu is the drug baron behind the N3 billion tramadol linked to Kyari and his accomplices, the NDLEA spokesperson stated that the suspect is a major importer of large consignments of different brands and high dosages of Tramadol Hydrochloride.
Babafemi added that Ukatu owns pharmaceutical and plastic manufacturing companies, which he used as cover to import illicit drugs into Nigeria.
The statement read:
“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 N17 million each as against the then black market value that ranged between N18 million and N20 million a carton in Lagos.
After the arrest of Ukatu’s staff: Pius Enidom and Sunday Ibekwete, Kyari’s 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 N3 billion.
Following Ukatu’s arrest, the drug law enforcement agency will consequently arraign him in court to join Kyari and four top members of his team, who are already facing trial for a different but similar offence at a Federal High Court in Abuja.