A disturbing trend is the use of dispatch riders to courier illicit drugs to drug users, thereby frustrating the effort by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NAFDAC), to control the use of illicit drugs. Francis Ogbuagu, reports.
The circumstances surrounding the death of Micheal Osifo Atanga, CEO of Super TV, (a Lagos-based entertainment channel) in hands of a woman reveals how criminalminded persons use dispatch riders to peddle illicit drugs. The riders often registered as courier service providers need not fear law enforcement agents as they are legitimately licensed to operate, even where bikes are banned. Recall that the lifeless body of Atanga, who would have turned 50 years on Wednesday, June 15 was recovered on Thursday morning in a flat in Lekki phase 1, Lagos with multiple stab wounds.
“The late CEO of Super TV reportedly met the girl some weeks ago and they began a relationship. It was alleged that he rented an apartment at Airbnb in Lekki, Lagos where they both checked into before the unfortunate incident. It was believed that the woman may have carried out the murder after she must have drugged him as the security guards at the rentals said no 3rd party came visiting Atanga and the woman beside a dispatch rider who brought drugs for the girl. In Benin, Edo State, Joseph Anah, 29years, from Benue State, having secured a job as a dispatch rider in May 2021 with a local courier company, OZ was using the bike to supply illicit drugs until his arrest by the men of the Edo State Police Command. Drugs ranging from Cocaine, Cannabis, and heroin were recovered from the man who denied knowledge of the content of his distribution box.
Narrating his involvement at the Edo State Police Command, as he was paraded along with other suspected criminals, Joseph said he was not aware he has been using the dispatch bike to ferry illicit drugs for the one whole month he has worked with the company before his arrest.
He said: “I was employed in May and since then I have been using this bike to distribute goods until I was arrested by the police in Ekiosodi Primary School in Benin City. I never knew that I was carrying drugs, I use to meet the man in a hotel and from there he will give it to me to go and supply.” When asked the name of his boss, he said: “I don’t know his name nor his address.
It was my brother who introduced him to me, pointing at his cousin, (Richard Desmond,30 years) himself a Despatch Rider, who said he met the said man while on duty and he gave him his Mobile number, requesting that he help him get a dispatch rider. “I was riding my bike and he stopped me and told me that he is looking for a rider, he gave me his phone numbers and that is how we met, I don’t know him from anywhere,” Desmond said. In similar developments, theDirector of Media and Advocacy of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Femi Babafemi, said on May 31 in Abuja, that on May 21,2021, a motorcycle belonging to a courier company, Sky Port, was abandoned by a dispatch rider in Wuse Zone 4 upon sighting NDLEA’s outpost in the area.
The motorcycle, he said, was later found to contain several pinches of crack cocaine, called Challie, and some envelopes of Arizona weeds meant for delivery. He said another online drug trafficker, Peter Nkejika, was arrested on May 24, 2021, following an arrest of a dispatch rider with some quantity of loud, a highly psychoactive variant of cannabis.
Each portion of loud costs N30,000 and the rider was caught with 17 portions for delivery. Also on May 25, NDLEA operatives intercepted two online drug transactions and arrested two dispatch riders with some quantities of cocaine and loud already packaged for delivery. In all, five dispatch riders and a lady, Dolapo Benjamin, who owns motorcycles involved in the door-to-door distribution of drugs and drugbased edibles – cakes and brownies – were arrested while six dispatch motorcycles involved in the distribution were seized. Also seized from them were assorted drugs such as cocaine, crackcharliee, molly/ecstasy, skunkweeds, brownie’s and loud, which is the most expensive psychoactive variant of the cannabis in town.