Nigerian nationals are making their presence felt in Mumbai’s crime scene, with their activities ranging from drug peddling, internet phishing and “black money” duping. Many of these Nigerians come on tourist visas for two months, but stay on illegally while others come on student visas. Mumbai’s Anti-Narcotics Cell has been capturing Nigerian drug peddlers every month. However, after a recent report of an increase in the number of Nigerians involved in the drug peddling racket, two months ago in a raid, it appears that the government and the immigration department is clueless about how many Nigerians live in the city illegally. It raises the concern among commoners that is the government taking measures to curtail the dilemma they are facing due to illegal Nigerian immigrants.
A joint raid to nab Nigerian drug peddlers was conducted on the nights of October 8 to 10 from 11 pm to 3 am under the leadership of Byculla RPF inspector Rakesh Kumar along with RPF, GRP and the Mumbai Police at Sandhurst Road, Masjid and Wadi Bandar area in Byculla.
Later, on October 17, Mumbai police managed to crack a Nigerian drug peddling racket where one Nigerian national had been arrested while other seven to eight fellow companions were reported to flee from Byculla. In the raid, a RPF constable and a Mumbai police sub-inspector were injured. In another update of the investigation, Byculla police station shared details of the drug peddler raid to AV which was carried around 4:45- 5:00 hrs where they apprehended two Nigerian drug peddlers from Byculla with a few grams of High-Quality Cocaine. Both the Nigerian nationals were arrested and the banned substances were seized. During the investigation, the officers found about a group of Nigerian nationals who were present at Byculla during the first raid conducted and in coordination with Sr. P.I Dinesh Kadam, his junior officers travelled to Mira Road and they found five more Nigerians drug peddlers of whom they got the information from the previous accused. All the seven peddlers are booked under NDPS Act and sent to Byculla police station and from their possession, standard amount of Cocaine was seized. As per the reports, the investigation is still going on and this being a sensitive matter, no other details can be revealed at this stage.
In an exclusive conversation with AV, Sr.P.I Dinesh Kadam shared, “The drug peddlers operate from a number of regions in Mumbai. Once we raid one place, we get a lead to the other. Most of these peddlers are Nigerian citizens.The local people don’t support them, but their business itself is deep-rooted here. The local people should report to the local police station as soon as they notice such activities and their visas should be kept under strict watch. Nigerians are aggressive, armed people ready to shoot the moment you try to catch them. They have injured many of our policemen as well.”
The entire operation was taken place under the supervision of DCP Zone 3 Abhinash Kumar (IPS). When AV spoke to Abhinash Kumar, he stated, “We are doing as many cases possible. We are generating more and more information and accordingly we are conducting the raids.” On asking about how is the police trying to control the Nigerian drug Mafias, he further added, “We are developing our intelligence network to get hold of the peddlers, deporting the person to their own country. These are the way we are trying to control this. However, the only difficulty we face is their deportation which takes a lot of time.”
Mumbai is becoming the hub of Nigerians for their business of drug peddling. In recent years, it has been observed that the Nigerian population is rapidly increasing in the Mira-Bhayander city, as it is a newly developed locality hence, easily accessible for the illegal immigrants. In a chat with AV regarding the increase of Nigerian community, BJP MLA of Mira Road, Narendra Mehta exclaimed, “Mira-Bhayander is the fastest growing city and many people who have bought flats here have come to do investment. So, many of them let the Nigerian peddlers stay there for rent out of greed. These are the places where they come and stay. Whenever, we get this kind of information, we inform the police and they take the legal action immediately. Also, now that the city is developing, these things are on the decrease.”
According to the Anti-Narcotics Cell, many of these men, and some women, deal in adulterated drugs that are sold in public places or at rave parties. Hence, an NGO named Rehmani Group has been initiating since a few years for the well-being of the drug-addicts. Zamir Khan, North Mumbai president, Rehmani Group expressed that their NGO, has been propagating an-anti drugs campaign, organising programs throughout Mumbai and because of that their President, Chairman and Zamir Khan himself had to face death threats.
“Of course, most of the peddlers are from foreign countries. They mainly come as students and nobody checks their passports once it has expired. Only if they could have been deported as soon as their passports have expired, such big scale mafia rackets wouldn’t have cropped up. They are also receiving local help. The most affected places are the Muslim-populated areas such as Gowandi, Nagpara, Dongri, etc. We are running a rehab where we treat the drug-abused youths. Now, the problem is, after rehabilitating, these youths return to the same environment and these days we are finding them returning to the rehab again,” Khan further added.
The Mumbai Police with the help of railway police has been carrying several sudden raids to stop the menace.
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