By Daniel Eteghe and Ifeanyi Okoli
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) arrested a veteran guitarist with 1.575kg of cocaine at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos while attempting to board an Air France flight to Italy.
The suspect, Mr. Fatoke Abiodun, a grandfather who played guitar for a Juju maestro for three decades, was arrested following the alleged detection of two parcels of cocaine hidden in the false bottom of his luggage.
While confirming the arrest, NDLEA Commander of the Lagos Airport, Mr. Hamza Umar, said the arrest took place on New Year day.
“We have made the first arrest in the new year. The suspect, a guitarist, Fatoke Abiodun, was found with 1.575kg of cocaine. The drug was discovered in the false bottom of his luggage during the outward screening of passengers to Italy,” Hamza said.
The 62-year-old grandfather, who is married to four wives with many children, was said to be helping narcotic investigators handling the case. Fatoke allegedly owned up to the crime to the investigators blaming it on financial hardship.
According to Fatoke, “after my primary education, I only did one year in the secondary school before I went into music. I can play any kind of guitar but my music career is a sad story. I played for a top rated musician for 30 years before I was unceremoniously retired in 2007. I was unprepared and without severance money I saw the bitter side of life. This is my first time of involving in drug trafficking. I did it out of frustration because at my age I could not provide for my family. I am ashamed of myself”.
Speaking on how he got involved in drug trafficking, the suspect was quoted as saying he got a call from a friend. “I live in Ibadan with my family. I was invited to Lagos where I was given 50,000 naira and they promised that every arrangement will be ready for me to travel soon. They promised to pay me one million naira. If not for my condition, I would have turned down the offer but it was my last hope to free myself from financial difficulty. I was given the bag and my ticket but at the airport NDLEA detected the drug. Since then, I have been in deep pain. I feel bad because I have no one to help me”.
NDLEA Chairman, Ahmadu Giade, described the alleged involvement of the suspect in drug trafficking as sad and disappointing. His words, “It is sad and disappointing for a grandfather to be involved in drug trafficking.
“The suspect will be charged to court for unlawful exportation and possession of narcotics. If convicted, he could spend the next 25 years in prison custody.”