By Onozure Dania
Lagos—A Lebanese Chef, Charbel Chalouhi, suspected of using and dealing in drugs has been arrested by the National Drugs Law and Enforcement Agency, NDLEA.
Chalouhi, a resident of 18, Wahab Ogunbambo Street, off Simeon Akinlonu Crescent, Victoria Island, was arrested following a tip off from worried residents of the area.
He is being held at the NDLEA’s Nigerian Aviation Handling Company, NAHCO, Lagos Command, Ikeja.
Chalouhi was arrested alongside Nigerian driver, suspected of being his accomplice.
It was gathered that NDLEA agents trailed Chalouhi and his driver for some time before raiding his home at about 8a.m., where they allegedly found a 1kg of cocaine.
A resident of Simeon Akinlonu Crescent, Mr. Samuel Olu, told reporters that he witnessed the arrest. Olu, who said he also works on Victoria Island, said the NDLEA combed several homes in the area and questioned the occupants before arresting Chalouhi.
He said: “I was just walking on the street when I saw the NDLEA officials come in. I witnessed the event.”
When they came, they invaded his house, not even his house alone; they went to other houses too. But when they got to know that he was the one, they checked him and they took him away. He joined the NDLEA officials in the car.” According to Olu, residents of the area had been living in fear of drug dealers, saying “people in this area have been very careful about complaining to law enforcement agencies about the activities of drug dealers, because such people can be very dangerous. If they get to know that you reported them, you could be harmed. People are living in fear, so the NDLEA should save us, save Nigerian youths.
Another witness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told reporters that some Lebanese in the country were pressurising the NDLEA to free Chalouhi. The source said: “Since his arrest, different Lebanese and top politicians have been calling the Lagos State Area Command and pressurising the investigating officer to drop the case. “
It has also been brought to our knowledge that they are about to release him between tonight and tomorrow morning without prosecuting him for allegedly dealing in and using drugs, which is supposed to be a minimum of 10 years imprisonment. They refused to investigate his girlfriend. “Most importantly, for the security of our Nigerian youths and the prevention of the drug trading Lebanese cartels on the streets of Lekki, Victoria Island and Ikoyi, this case should be used to set an example to foreigners taking over our streets with hard drugs.”
The NDLEA’s Airport Command spokesperson, Mr Ahmed Garba said he was not aware of the incident, but NDLEA Lagos Area Commander, Aliu Suleiman, confirmed Chalouhi’s arrest. “We are still investigating,” Suleiman said.