By Daniel Eteghe
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) yesterday arrested eight suspects including three importers over illicit trafficking of drugs at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos.
Speaking to newsmen in a statement, Chairman of NDLEA, Alhaji Ahmadu Giade stressed that there was no hiding place for drug barons who hide under the cover of importation or other legitimate business ventures to engage in trafficking drugs into the country.
Giade disclosed that the three importers that were arrested were among the eight persons apprehended at the Lagos airport in January 2011, adding that unless they quit the obnoxious drug trade that the law would soon catch up with them.
“Any business man hiding under the cover of legitimate business in smuggling illicit drugs must quit now because the law will certainly catch up with them. This will happen very soon because we are working round the clock to identify, arrest and prosecute all criminals pretending to be law abiding citizens” Giade assured.
He also noted that the agency has seized a total of 17.065 kilogrammes of narcotics in January pointing out that these include 5.340 kilogrammes of cocaine, 8.400kg of heroin and 3.325kg of methamphetamine.
Meanwhile NDLEA Commander at the Airport, Alhaji Hamza Umar affirmed that no female was arrested at the airport command in January.
According to Hamza, three importers were among the eight suspects arrested at the Lagos airport saying that the names of the importers were Michael Izuchukwu Ikegbuno, 41, Igwilo John Chinedu, 30 and Orazuluba Blessed, 38.
He disclosed that Michael’s final destination was Japan. Igwilo was going to Greece while Orazuluba was coming from Brazil.
One of the suspects Mr. Michael, an importer of motor parts lives in Japan with his wife and 3 children. He tested positive to drug ingestion during the outward screening of passengers on Qatar Airways flight. Michael ingested 80 pellets of substances that tested positive for methamphetamine weighing 840grammes.
Narrating his ordeal, Mr. Michael who hails from Nnewi, Anambra State claimed that he was in financial difficulty and needed money to settle his problems.
“I agree to carry drugs to settle my financial problems. It hurts being stranded and I became desperate. I regret everything now.” Michael stated.
Igwilo John Chinedu who is also an importer of motor parts from Europe ingested 55 pellets of substances that tested positive for cocaine weighing 1.175 kilogramms.
According to Igwilo who lives in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) said that the desire to increase his capital base made him to go into drug trafficking. He was to board an Emirate flight to Greece when he was caught. Igwilo hails from Orifite in Anambra State.
Mr. Orazuluba Blessed, the third importer who hails from Ihiala in Anambra State also disclosed to the narcotic officers that the love for money made him to indulge in drug smuggling. The suspect who lives in Brazil had 1.500 kilogrammes of cocaine concealed in a false bottom of his luggage.
“I got a good bargain because I was entitled to 40 percent of the total value of the drug found in my luggage. I feel bad that I was arrested. I was so positive minded that it was a sealed transaction until NDLEA officers discovered the drug. I have struggled in my life and saw this drug deal as my breakthrough offer. I feel bad now because my entire dream of escaping poverty has been dashed” he lamented.
The NDLEA boss noted that all the suspects would be charged to court soon.