Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency have intercepted over 64,863.5 kilogramme of nitrous oxide, otherwise known as “laughing gas”, at the Apapa seaport in Lagos and Imo State.

A statement by the spokesperson of the agency, Femi Babafemi, on Friday, said three persons were arrested in connection with the substance.

The statement read, “Barely 24 hours after the directive by the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the NDLEA, Brig Gen Buba Marwa’s for a nationwide clampdown on peddlers, NDLEA operatives at the Apapa seaport acted on credible intelligence on July 12 and intercepted two containers marked MSKU 7626856 and MSKU 7689448. The containers were suspected to have in them cartons of nitrous oxide and plastic pressure release nozzles imported from China.

“As a result, a joint examination of the containers was carried out by NDLEA officers, men of the Customs Service, and other stakeholders the following day, Thursday, July 13. 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.”

Also, on the same day in Imo State, the Agency intercepted three cartons containing 18 canisters of the substance.

Babafemi said, “In the same vein, NDLEA operatives on patrol along Owerri-Onitsha expressway in Imo State on Thursday 13th July intercepted three cartons containing 18 canisters of the same substance weighing 11.5kg heading to Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

“A swift follow-up operation was conducted in the stadium road area of Elekahia, Port Harcourt, same day leading to the arrest of the owner of the shipment, 24-year-old Tonye Kalio.”

While commending the officers and men of the Apapa Port, and their Imo State Command counterparts for being proactive and swift, Babafemi said Marwa directed that the clampdown on the sale and usage of nitrous oxide would continue nationwide to protect young Nigerians from the devastating effects of abusing the substance.