With the arrest of seven Nigerian nationals by the Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC) of city police for their alleged role in drug peddling cases, sleuths have learnt that most of the accused are students of three separate institutes in the city, and one suspect was given admission though he had come to India on a business visa.
This revelation has brought the three institutes under the police scanner, and an intensive investigation has been launched into the matter. The ANC is now investigating whether other students were also involved in drug peddling activities and how the college authorities overlooked facts during the admission process.
“So far we have arrested seven Nigerian nationals including Nomso Uche Honaha alias Suso and Egike Obina Nicolas (both 28) for cocaine dealing in the city. So far, we have deported five Nigerian nationals out of the seven arrested,” said PI Sunil Tambe of ANC.
Tambe added that Suso was arrested for on November 26 and cocaine worth Rs 4.5 lakh was seized from his possession. Nicolus was arrested on December 7 at Kondhwa, and cocaine worth Rs 32,000 was seized from him.
‘The investigation revealed that Suso was a Bachelor of Business Management student and Nicolas was pursuing a course in computer science, and both studied at the same educational institute,” Tambe said.
According to the police inspector, Nicolas arrived in the country a few months ago on a business visa. The sleuths have been questioning the college authorities as to how he was given admission, as he was not on an educational visa. “Under the guise of students, these Nigerian nationals get in touch with prospective customers and operate on the basis of word of mouth,” Tambe said.
He added that a search of the living quarters of the other five arrested yielded no contraband. “The names of the other five Nigerians cropped up during the interrogation of Suso and Nicolas. They were picked up, but a search operation at their houses did not prove they had contraband. We then referred them to the Special Branch and requested for them to be deported,” he said.
“These five were also students at two other institutes. During the investigation, we learnt that several more Nigerian nationals are involved in such activities.” “We have started grilling some of them and are in the process of making a few more arrests in this regard.” When the police searched Nicolas’ home in Kondhwa, they found a photograph of his brother. “When we inquired about the person in the photo, Nicolas told us that he was his brother who was arrested by the police in Goa in a fraud case, but later died of heart attack,” said API Vinod Patil of the ANC.
He added that as they found his statements misleading, they contacted the Calangute police station to enquire. Their counterparts in Goa informed that the person in the picture went by the name of Goko, and he had been arrested by them earlier and released on bail. They also informed the ANC sleuths that Goko was alive and fine.
Hub for Nigerians
Several Nigerian nationals live in Wanwadi, Kondhwa and Koregaon Park area and local residents have complained about them behaving indecently.“We have received several complaints about their behaviour and have now begun keeping tabs on them. After Suso and Nicolas were arrested, several residents have come forward and complained that these individuals have become a menace to the housing societies in the areas,” Tambe said.