By Bukar Bolori
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in the last one week have intercepted 37.3 kilogrammes of hard drugs from been brought into the country or taken out to United Kingdom and Italy through the Murtala Mohammed International Airport.
A statement on Sunday by the spokesman of the anti-narcotics agency, Femi Babafemi said: “It was another busy week of battle of wits between operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA and 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 37.3 kilogrammes ; all of which were intercepted and seized in five different bids while seven persons were arrested.”
He disclosed that the first attempt to bring into Nigeria 76 pellets of cocaine weighing 1.150 kilogrammes was made by Agudozie Ihie on 25th May, 2021, but he was arrested during inward security clearance of passengers on Qatar airline from Kenya, at the E-arrival hall of Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja.
He said at the point of arrest, he was found in possession 36 pellets of cocaine concealed in his pants, and during observation, he excreted additional 40 pellets.
He added that during preliminary interrogation, Ihie 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.
Barely two hours after the arrest of Agudozie Ihie for cocaine ingestion, Babafemi said NDLEA operatives at the SAHCO export shed of the Lagos airport also intercepted 4.2 kilogrammes of heroin bound for Italy.
He revealed that two freight forwarders have been arrested in connection to the seizure, adding that 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.
Another intercepted was made on the 26th May, 2021, during inward security clearance of passengers on Qatar airline from Doha, according to Babafemi.
He said NDLEA operatives at the E-arrival hall of the airport also arrested one Nnakaihe Ikechukwu (a.k.a Peprah Livinus) with 600 grammes of cocaine, noting that the illicit drug was cleverly concealed inside “Ankara dress buttons.”
He alleged that the suspect who hails from Imo state however fraudulently obtained a Ghanaian passport with the name Peprah Livinus, but 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 kilogrammes 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 the drug was neatly concealed inside 30 pieces of bankus palm nut cream tin (banga soup) after emptying the real content.
He noted that the suspect, in his confessional statement, admitted to have been contracted by one of his customers based in Manchester and had negotiated with him for the sum of N1 million naira but was paid only N700,000.
The NDLEA Spokesman also said that last Thursday, operatives of the agency equally intercepted 11 parcels of heroin weighing 1.2 kilogrammes concealed in eleven packs of Indomie noodles at SAHCO export shed of the Lagos airport. The drug was to go with Ethiopian Airline to Malaysia via Addis-Ababa.
He disclosed that 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. 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, however, charged them to remain unrelenting and always watch out for the disingenuous modes of concealment traffickers employ to beat detection.