From Mitchel Ofoyeju, Head Public Affairs, NDLEA
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has recorded remarkable success with the drastic reduction in the arrests of drug traffickers smuggling narcotics to United States and United Kingdom. NDLEA Chairman/Chief Executive, Ahmadu Giade described the development as a reward for hard work. The NDLEA boss made the disclosure following the arrest of an Ondo based timber merchant and a Lagos based electronic dealer at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos in connection with drug ingestion.
The timber merchant, Ojo Sunday Akanmu Olusegun, 59 years old was caught during the outward screening of passengers on a Delta Airline flight to New York, United States while the electronic dealer, Igweibuike Obinna, 47 years old was nabbed on a Virgin Atlantic flight to London Heathrow.
NDLEA preliminary investigation according to Hamza Umar the commander at the MMIA shows that Ojo Sunday Akanmu Olusegun who hails from Ilesha Osun State ingested seventy-five wraps of substances that tested positive for heroin weighing 1.090kg. Igweibuike Obinna, a native of Anambra State inserted six wraps in his anus and ingested 11 wraps making a total of 17 wraps of cocaine weighing 335 gramms.
The last arrest of suspect leaving Nigeria to the United States at the Lagos airport was in May 2012 when one Orji Emeka Christian was apprehended with 1.250kg of heroin. Similarly the last arrest made on Nigeria-United Kingdom route was in October 2014 when one Onyechesi Chidi Christ was found with 25 grammes of cocaine on an Air France flight to Scotland. In 2013, there was also an arrest of one Uzobude Vitus Uju with 1.815kg of cocaine on a British Airways flight to London.
“This drastic reduction in arrest is due to the extra vigilance and mutual cooperation between Nigeria, the United States and the United Kingdom. We have a feedback mechanism where arrest made on flights from Nigeria to the US and UK is communicated to us” Giade stated.
Ojo who is a timber merchant said that his involvement in drug trafficking was due to financial hardship. “I am married to two wives with five children. I am a timber merchant in Ondo State. My problem started in 2013 when I lost two million naira to fraudsters. In the process I became indebted and had been running from pillar to post without any solution. A young man introduced me into drug trafficking in order for me to pay my debts. Initially, I dismissed the suggestion but when my condition is not getting better, I decided to take the risk. The ten thousand dollars they promised me would have gone a long way in solving my problem. This is my first time of smuggling drugs” Ojo stated.
In his statement, Igweibuike said that he would have made a million naira from drug trafficking. “I sell electronics at Alaba market in Lagos. I agreed to smuggle drugs because I would have made a million naira to invest in my business. I also needed money to take care of my family. I am married with two children” Igweibuike stated.
Giade charged officers to step-up vigilance at all times. In his words, “it is gladdening that the number of arrests has reduced on the United States and United Kingdom routes. We are working very hard to replicate similar feats on other routes”.
Meanwhile, the suspects will be charged to court soon.