Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have intercepted over 64,852kg kilogram consignment of nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing gas at the Apapa seaport in Lagos State.
This came barely 24 hours after the Chairman of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) directed all commands and formations of the Agency to begin an immediate clampdown on illegal sale and use of the gaseous substance.
“Following credible intelligence, NDLEA operatives at the Apapa seaport on Wednesday 12th July intercepted two containers marked MSKU 7626856 and MSKU 7689448 suspected to contain cartons of Nitrous oxide and plastic pressure release nozzles imported from China,” NDLEA’s Director, Media & Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, disclosed on Friday.
As a result, Babafemi said a joint examination of the containers was carried out by NDLEA officers, men of the Customs Service and other stakeholders on Thursday.
“During the search of the two containers, a total of 522 cartons of Nitrous Oxide, containing 16,366 packages weighing 64,852kgs were recovered along with the paraphernalia for recreational use. The importer of the consignment, 30-year-old Stephen Eze and his agent, Michael Chukwuma were thereafter arrested and detained for further investigation,” he said.
Nitrous oxide is a colourless gas that is commonly used for sedation and pain relief, more often by dentists and medical professionals to sedate patients undergoing minor medical procedures.
NDLEA had in a statement on Tuesday said the decision to clampdown on those involved in illegal sale and use of laughing gas, follows analysis of the effects on those who abuse the substance, which include: dizziness; disorientation, headache; light headedness; fainting spells; hallucinations; falling unconscious and/or suffocating from lack of oxygen; and other neurological complications especially psychiatric symptoms.