The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has made huge seizures of cocaine and heroines with street values worth over N30billion at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.
This comes barely a week after the new Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Brig Gen. Buba Marwa, vowed to dismantle drug trafficking cartels across Nigeria.
One of the seizures, 26.840 kilograms of cocaine is the biggest single seizure from an individual in the past 15 years, The Nation gathered.
According to a top official of the agency in Abuja: “On the 27th of January 2021, at about 1320hours, during the inward clearance of Ethiopian Airline passengers at the E- arrival hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, a female passenger by name Onyejegbu Ifesinachi Jennifer, 33 years, who arrived Nigeria from Sao Paulo, Brazil via Addis Ababa, was intercepted by NDLEA operatives.
As a standard operating procedure, all passengers to and from high-risk countries are always profiled using passengers’ manifest.
“It happened that the above-named suspect was targeted. Consequently, she was taken to the NDLEA office at the airport, where her bags were searched thoroughly, and in the process, whitish powdery substances were found concealed inside 16 pieces of duvet contained in her two travel bags.
“Field test was conducted on the recovered substances and proved positive to cocaine and weighed 26.850kilograms. The suspect who is a hairstylist and based in Brazil was interviewed and she confessed to having agreed to smuggle the hard drug for the N2m only.
“Although she refused to disclose the names of her associates, she mentioned that she was asked to hand over the drugs to another person. The street value of this singular seizure is put at over N21billion.”
The official further disclosed the development came on the heels of a similar one recorded two days earlier when a red left-over luggage was declared to the NDLEA operatives at the E-arrival hall after the inward clearance of passengers on Ethiopian Airline.
Based on information on the luggage tag, the luggage arrived Nigeria from Sao Paulo, Brazil, a destination classified as a high-risk country going by records and trends of arrest and seizures.
“Subsequently, the bag was transferred to the NDLEA ‘Legal Seat’ being the administrative office at the passenger terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, for detention. While this was going on, the NDLEA Commander at the MMIA, Ahmadu Garba received an intelligence report of a purported plan to clear a consignment containing hard drug through the Lagos airport. Coincidentally, the details sent matched the bag earlier detained by the operatives at the Lagos airport.
“In a coordinated operation, on January 27, 2021, an NDLEA undercover agent was contacted by one Abubakar Aliyu. Guided by the operation and investigation unit, the undercover agent successfully lured the said Abubakar Aliyu into the cargo terminal of the airport where he was arrested.
“The suspect revealed to NDLEA operatives that another person was on his way to receive the bag based of the instruction of his sender who he gave his name as Ikechukwu Eze.
“As a result, one Emmanuel Iyke Aniebonam, who was to receive the bag, was also arrested at NAHCO. During a preliminary interview by a team of investigators, Emmanuel confessed that he was instructed by one Ikechukwu to receive the consignment. Emmanuel was again set up to lure in Ikechukwu Eze but rather than showing up to get the consignment from Emmanuel, he sent another who said he was mandated to receive the consignment from him, and they agreed to meet at Ibis Royal Hotel, a few miles away from the airport.
“A follow-up operation was quickly organised to the hotel, where one Onwurah Kelvin was arrested and brought to the office. The suspect confessed during the interview that he was sent by one Ikechukwu to receive the consignment.
“Thereafter, the detained bag was opened in the presence of all the three suspects, whitish powdery substances were discovered neatly concealed and sewn inside five children duvets. The field test was carried out on the exhibits proved they are cocaine weighed to be 8.400 Kilograms, with a street value of over N7billion.”
It was further learnt that on January 24, 2021, at about 12 noon, one Edosa Christopher was arrested at the passengers screening point of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, and subjected to a body scan, which proved positive for hard drugs ingestion.
According to the official: “The suspect was immediately transferred to NDLEA/JBTF office and placed on excretion observation. Subsequently, he excreted a total of 68 wraps of substance, which was tested and proved positive to heroin. It was also weighed 950 grams.
“During an interview, Edosa Christopher confessed to having bought the illicit substance at the cost of N800, 000 from someone he referred to as ‘Paddy’.
“According to the suspect, he met the said PADDY at Eagle Rock hotel around Ago Palace way in Lagos, where he lodged for a brief stay. Further investigation however revealed that the hotel does not exist anywhere in Lagos.