By Sade Williams
Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (retd.) has ordered investigation into the arrest of three Nigerian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia in connection with substances suspected to be cocaine.
Abdallah, who expressed disappointment over the unfortunate incident, constituted a panel of inquiry headed by the Director of Operations and General Investigation, Mr. Olugbenga Mabo, to immediately investigate the incident adding that the Agency will address the situation with every sense of seriousness and urgency.
The Agency had also deployed more investigators to all the screening camps nationwide.
According to the NDLEA boss, “narcotic smuggling is criminal and the involvement of pilgrims is utterly reprehensible. This is unfortunate and we are working very hard to get to the root of it. The Agency is handling this case with every sense of seriousness and urgency because this action has negatively affected the image of Nigeria. We have also taken measures to intensify the on-going screening of pilgrims who are yet to depart to Saudi Arabia to prevent a re-occurrence of the sad incident”.
Abdallah assured members of the public that the NDLEA will get to the root of the incident.
The terms of reference for the panel of inquiry include to ascertain the circumstances behind the non-detection of the pilgrims before takeoff, identification of possible sponsors and source of drug supply as well as make recommendations on effective screening of pilgrims.
Meanwhile, the NDLEA boss also called on pilgrims to uphold the principle of probity, patriotism and eschew any act capable of bringing the image of the country to disrepute.
Abdallah vowed to take necessary steps aimed at bringing any person or group of persons involved in the criminal act to justice.