The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), has seized cocaine and heroin worth over ₦30 billion. The seizure was made at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.
The seizures were made within the space of one week. Also, it is coming barely a week after the new NDLEA Chairman, Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa vowed to dismantle drug trafficking cartels across Nigeria.
According to a top official of the agency on of the seizures is a 26.840 kilograms of cocaine. This is the biggest single seizure from an individual in the past 15 years.
Narrating how the seizure was made, the official said: “On the 27th of January 2021, at about 13:20 hours, 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 old), 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 NDLEA office at the Airport. There her bags were searched thoroughly. In the process, whitish powdery substances were found concealed inside 16 pieces of duvet. They were 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 is a hair stylist and based in Brazil. She was interviewed and she confessed to have agreed to smuggle the hard drug for the sum of Two Million Naira (N2,000,000) only.
She refused to disclose the names of her associates. However, 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 that the development came on the heels of a similar one recorded two days earlier. It was recorded at the airport on January 25. This was when a red left-over luggage was declared to the NDLEA operatives as a left over at the E- arrival hall. It was discovered after the inward clearance of passengers on Ethiopian airline.
“Based on information on the luggage tag, the luggage arrived in Nigeria from Sao Paulo, Brazil. This is a destination classified as high-risk country going by records and trends of arrest and seizures.
“Subsequently, the bag was transferred to the NDLEA ‘Legal Seat’ for detention. This is the administrative office at the passenger terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport. 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 through the Lagos airport. The consignment contained hard drug. Coincidentally, the details sent matched the bag earlier detained by the operatives at the airport.
“In a coordinated operation, on January 27, 2021, an NDLEA undercover agent was contacted by one Abubakar Aliyu. The undercover agent successfully lured the said Abubakar Aliyu into the cargo terminal of the airport. There, he was arrested. The suspect revealed to NDLEA operatives that another person was on his way to receive the bag. This was based of the instruction of his sender whose name he gave to be Ikechukwu Eze.
“Shortly after, 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 made some confessions. He admitted that he was instructed by one Ikechukwu to receive the consignment”.
The NDLEA official further explained that Emmanuel was again set up to lure in Ikechukwu Eze but rather than showing up to get the consignment, he sent another who said he was mandated to receive the consignment from Emmanuel, and they agreed to meet at Ibis Royal Hotel, a few miles away from the airport.