Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has said that it had a rough time with drug traffickers who tried to either import into Nigeria or export to the United Kingdom and Italy, illicit drugs including cocaine, heroin and cannabis weighing 37.3kg; all of which were intercepted and seized in five different bids while seven persons were arrested.
Spokesman of the agency, Femi Babafemi, said on Sunday in Abuja that the first attempt to bring into Nigeria 76 pellets of cocaine weighing 1.150kg was made by Agudozie Peter Ihie on 25 May 2021, but was arrested during inward security clearance of passengers on Qatar airline from Kenya, at the E-arrival hall of Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos.
He said that Ihie at the point of arrest was found in possession of 36 pellets of cocaine concealed in his pants.
“While under observation, he excreted additional 40 pellets. During preliminary interrogation, he confessed to have swallowed the drugs in Nairobi but became pressed during the transit period in Doha and excreted some wraps onboard the aircraft en route Lagos,” Babafemi said.
According to him, barely two hours after the arrest of Agudozie Peter Ihie for cocaine ingestion, NDLEA operatives at the SAHCO export shed of the Lagos airport also intercepted 4.2kg of heroin bound for Italy.
He added that two freight forwarders have been arrested in connection to the seizure.
“During preliminary interview, one of the suspects stated that the consignment belongs to one of his customers based in Italy, and that it was sent to him from Benin, Edo state through a transport company,” he said.
On 26 May, 2021, during inward security clearance of passengers on Qatar airline from Doha, NDLEA operatives at the E-arrival hall of the airport also arrested one Nnakaihe Ikechukwu (a.k.a Peprah Livinus) with 600 grams of cocaine.
The illicit drug was cleverly concealed inside Ankara dress buttons.
The suspect who hails from Imo State however fraudulently obtained a Ghanaian passport using Peprah Livinus as his name.
“He is suspected to be a member of some of the illicit drug trafficking groups with multiple passports bearing different names in order to evade detection by security agencies,” Babafemi said.
On the same date, NDLEA operatives at the NAHCO export shed of MMIA intercepted 30.150 kg of Cannabis Sativa heading to Manchester in the United Kingdom via British Airways and arrested one Anyanwu Chika who is a cargo bag stitcher in connection to the bid.
He said that the drug was neatly concealed inside 30 pieces of bankus palm nut cream tin (banga soup) after emptying the real content.
In his confessional statement, he admitted to have been contacted by one of his customers based in Manchester and had negotiated with him for N1 million but was paid only N700,000.
On Thursday, 3 June 2021, operatives equally intercepted 11 parcels of heroin weighing 1.2kg concealed in eleven packs of Indomie noodles at SAHCO export shed of the Lagos airport.
The drug was to go on an Ethiopian Airlines flight to Malaysia via Addis-Ababa.
A freight agent and an errand boy for the owner of the exhibit have been arrested in connection to the foiled bid.
Reacting to the latest arrests and seizures at the MMIA, Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig-Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) commended the Commander, Ahmadu Garba, officers and men of the airport Command for their tenacity and commitment to the mandate of ridding the nation of illicit drugs.
He charged them to remain unrelenting and always watch out for the disingenuous modes of concealment traffickers employ to beat detection.