A suspected drug trafficker has alleged that he was tricked into the act in Brazil by the person who sponsored the trip.
Celestine Ikechukwu Okonkwo, 39, who was a trader at the Balogun Market in Lagos said he was given a mouth-watering job offer before he embarked on the trip to Brazil.
Commander of the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, Hamisu Lawan, said the suspect tested positive for cocaine ingestion when he was arrested.
“the suspect tested positive to drug ingestion while returning from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He later excreted 70 wraps of cocaine weighing 1.326kg”.
Celestine said that he was a happy man until the drug barons approached him with a promise of better job abroad.
“I was in my shop at Idumota market where I sell used clothes. I will never forget the day a young man came to my shop to buy shirt. He told me he is from Anambra and that he lives in Brazil. He also promised to help me with a good job opportunity over there. Honestly, I was excited and felt it was answer to my age long prayer. He collected my phone number and left. This was how it all started” Celestine stated.
After three months, the man called him that he was back to Nigeria. In his words,
“he prepared my international passport and also secured a visa for me. Then he told me to get set to travel any time. Few weeks later, he brought my ticket and I travelled to Brazil in January 2015. He gave me the name of the hotel where I will stay pending when he will get me a job. I was eventually abandoned to suffer. When I exhausted my money, I began to sleep in a church. I also began to work for a Nigerian woman who owns a restaurant in order not to starve to death”.
The suspect also stated that drug trafficking was not originally discussed with him before he left Nigeria.
“Nobody discussed drug trafficking with me while in Nigeria. It was after I had lived in the church for some months that my sponsor located me in Sau Paulo. I was told that there is no free lunch in Brazil and that I have suffered and experienced difficult life in Brazil. This was the point they introduced drug trafficking as the only way out. They said that was what people do to make money. It took me about seven hours to swallow 70 wraps of cocaine. I was inexperienced because it was my first time. They promised to pay me 400,000 naira when I get to Nigeria” he stated.
Celestine left Anambra to Lagos in 2010. He abandoned his education in 1999 when he was in year two in junior secondary school. His wife and daughter are living with his parents in the village. Speaking on his advice to young people, the drug suspect said that there is no place like home. “God bless Nigeria. There is no poverty here except the person chooses to be poor” he stated.
Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade said that the story of Celestine should serve as a warning to others who are seeking to travel out of the country. In his words, “there is nothing wrong in seeking greener pastures but people must be properly guided. Travelling out of the country without money to pay for your accommodation and feeding is ill-advised. Those who promise job opportunities abroad are after their selfish interest”.
Giade also added that the Agency is determined to investigate and expose the sponsors of Celestine.