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Grandma, 2 others nabbed with heroin – Blames el-Rufa’i for ordeal

Mrs. Abimbola Remi Adebola who hails from Illesha, Osun state, said she graduated from Technical College, Ibadan in Oyo state now Ibadan Polytechnic in 1971…

Mrs. Abimbola Remi Adebola who hails from Illesha, Osun state, said she graduated from Technical College, Ibadan in Oyo state now Ibadan Polytechnic in 1971 with Ordinary Diploma in Secretarial Administration. She said the financial difficulty she has been facing as a result of the demolition of her property by the FCT Administration coupled with other misfortunes, led her into the criminal act.

“I lost everything. My problems started in 2005 when my shop at Ladoke Akintola Street and my house at Chika in Abuja were demolished. I was also duped of N2.8 million by swindlers who promised to sell a Low Cost house to me in 2006. Even my son, who graduated and completed the National Youth Service Scheme since 2006, is still searching for a job. In 2007, I could no longer afford my rent in Abuja and I was ejected.

“All these forced me into drug trafficking because there was no one to help. I swallowed 140 wraps of heroin in a hotel in Lagos and was given 1,000 dollars part payment. I would have been given a balance of 4,000 dollars upon successful delivery. My sponsors assured me that I will successfully pass the screening at the airport. I could not believe myself when NDLEA officials just walked up to me and arrested me as I was about passing through their scanner,” Abimbola lamented.

She was found to have ingested 140 wraps of substances that tested positive to heroin weighing 825 grams. She said before the demolition of her property in Abuja, she had a boutique. She said she lost both shop and house to the demolition by the FCT Authority. She has three children, two boys and a girl and her eldest son is 35 years.

Confirming the arrest, NDLEA Commander at the Lagos airport, Alhaji Hamza Umar, said Mrs Abimbola was arrested along with two other suspects when they were about to board a Delta airline plane to Atlanta in the United States. He said though the Agency could not link the three suspects, a total of 2.960 kilograms of heroin was recovered from them. He said they were arrested with the aid of body scanners donated to the agency by the US government.

Umar who gave the names of the two other suspects as 37-year-old national of Benin Republic, Yessoufou Idrissou and 30 year old trader, Umeojiaku Charity Nneka, said the suspects have excreted the drugs they had earlier ingested. He said all the suspects have made useful statements and are cooperating with his men in their investigations.

He said preliminary investigations have revealed that members of the syndicate use ladies to recruit drug mules. He urged members of the public to report any person suspected to be working for drug dealers to the nearest NDLEA office.

Umeojiaku Charity Nneka who hails from Awka in Anambra State, who was arrested on the same flight with Mrs. Abimbola, told Weekly Trust that she swallowed 100 pieces of substances that tested positive to heroin weighing 1.170 kilograms. She said she also had a boutique at Oshodi, Lagos that was demolished by the government. She said when the boutique was demolished, she started hawking clothes to earn a living.

The only foreigner among the suspects, Yessoufou Idrissou, from neighbouring Benin Republic who was also nabbed by NDLEA officers during the screening of passengers on Delta Airline flight to Atlanta, United States, also blamed financial difficulties for his misfortune. Idrissou said he is married and hae two children, saying he ingested 65 wraps of narcotics in a hotel for a fee of 8,000 dollars.

“I have debts of N1.8 million and needed to use the money to service my debt and start something to assist my family. I am from Save in Benin Republic. I came to the airport with my passport and a valid visa to the United States of America. I noticed that the scanner at the NDLEA screening point made an alarm when I was about passing it. I suspect it was at that point that the heroin I swallowed was discovered,” he said.

Commenting on the arrests, Chairman and Chief Executive of NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade, described the action of Mrs. Abimbola Remi Adebola as ‘shameful and disgraceful’. He lamented that a 60-year-old woman who is supposed to be among the council of elders in any community she finds herself, has descended so low to engage in drug trafficking, saying the Agency will not render any form of favour to her as she failed to choose the path of honour. He reiterated his determination to stop illicit drug syndicates from using Nigeria as a transit country.

The head of Public Affairs of the Agency, Mr Mitchell Ofoyeju said arrangements are being made to charge all the suspects to court as soon as investigations into their various cases are concluded, adding that all the suspects will be charged to court in accordance with the NDLEA Act.

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