The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), has apprehended four suspected drug traffickers including a Birmingham based cleaner with 6.822kg of narcotics worth N61 million .
The seized drugs, according to Mitchel Ofoyeju, NDLEA spokesperson, consist of 4.193kgs of heroin and 2.629kg of cocaine destined for Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia, Birmingham, United Kingdom, Rome and Mumbai, India.
NDLEA commander at Abuja airport, Hamisu Lawan said that those arrested were caught attempting to smuggle drugs out of the country.
According to him, “four suspected drug traffickers have been apprehended with 6.822kg of cocaine and heroin. The suspects include Umeh Chidiebere Gabriel, 36, going to Birmingham with 479 grammes of cocaine, Ozoike Kelechi John, 34, going to Rome through Addis Ababa with 2.8kg of heroin, Azubuike Francis Okwochukwu, 38, going to Addis Ababa with 1.393kg of heroin and Okoro Godfrey Ogbonna, 42, going to Mumbai with 2.150kg of cocaine”.
Umeh Chidiebere Gabriel, who lives in Birmingham, United Kingdom was arrested at the boarding gate of the airport after testing positive for drug ingestion while trying to board an Air France flight to the United Kingdom through Charles De Gaulle, Paris. While under observation, he excreted 30 wraps of cocaine weighing 479 grammes.
He claimed that the drugs were given to him by a man he met at his village.
“They promised to take care of me financially after successfully delivering the drugs in London. I feel very sad” he stated.
Another suspect, Ozoike Kelechi John, a trader at Alaba international market Ojo Lagos, was arrested while trying to check in a bag found to contain 2.8kg of heroin. The drug was cleverly concealed inside the passenger’s luggage.
NDLEA agents made the discovery during screening of passengers on an Ethiopian airline flight to Rome via Addis Ababa. Ozoike Kelechi John hails from Enugu State. He is single and an importer of electronics from Hong Kong.
“I needed more money to expand my business that was why I had to smuggle drugs. They promised to pay me 10, 150 euros upon safe delivery of the drugs in Rome but I was given 1, 200 euros as part payment”.
Mr. Okoro Godfrey Ogbonna from Ijebu ode, Ogun State was arrested with 2.150kg of cocaine at the screening point during checking in of passengers on a Kenyan airways flight to India through Nairobi.
Ogbonna is an importer of hair extensions from India to Nigeria. He is married with two kids and hails from Enugu State. He claimed that he was given the drugs by a friend he met in Lagos to deliver in India after which he will be paid four hundred and fifty thousand naira (N450,000). His travel expenses were all paid by his sponsors.
The last suspect Azubuike Francis Okwuchukwu, from Nnewi, Anambra State ingested 65 wraps of heroine weighing 1.393 kg which he swallowed and attempt to export to Italy. He was arrested trying to board an Ethiopian Airline flight to Italy via Addis Ababa. Okwuchukwu is married with two children and also a business man who imports mobile phones from Hong Kong and owns a shop in Oshodi Lagos.
He claims that the demolition of his shop led him into drug trafficking after he was promised 5000 euros upon the delivery of the drugs in Italy.
NDLEA Chairman/Chief Executive, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (rtd), said that the Agency will investigate and arrest the sponsors of the suspects.
“My target is to trace the drug barons, arrest and prosecute everyone that is involved in the illicit act” Abdallah stated.
By: Sade Williams