Officers of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), over the weekend, arrested a man attempting to smuggle cocaine valued at £3.8million into the country. The suspect, 34-year old Enugu State indigene, Okolo Emenike Kingsley, was arrested at the at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja.
In a statement signed by Mr. Mitchell Ofoyeju, spokesman to the anti-narcotics agency, the NDLEA said that the illiicit drug, which was discovered stuffed in shoe soles, weighed 9.150kilogrammes. The discovery, explained the agency, was made in a shipment of shoes during inward screening of passengers on a Turkish Airlines flight from Sao Paulo, Brazil. The statement added that the drug was industrially concealed in the soles of new foot wears and that the seizure was the last arrest of the year at the NAIA, Abuja.
NDLEA Commander at NAIA, Mr. Hamisu Lawan, said: "There was an arrest at the weekend of a 34-year old suspect, Okolo Emenike Kingsley, who hails from Ezeagu, Enugu State. The motorcyle parts dealer said that he was offered the sum of N1 million to smuggle the drug to Nigeria. Investigation is ongoing, and the suspect is cooperating with our team of undercover officers.” The suspect, who is married and has a child, said he was forced into becoming a mule because motorcycle parts business has been hit by recession. The failure of his business, he added, made him travel to in search of job opportunity to Brazil, where his financial difficulties continued.
“I was confronted with the fear of deportation. This made me to be desperate in my search for quick wealth. In the process, I met my childhood friend who offered me N1 million to traffic cocaine to Nigeria.
“He also paid for my ticket and gave me three bags of shoes containing the cocaine. On arrival at the Abuja Airport, the cocaine was detected and I was arrested. I had wanted to invest the N 1 million in business in Nigeria,” he said.
Speaking on the arrest, NDLEA Chief Executive, Colonel Mohammad Mustapha Abdallah (retd.), said the seizure is an indication of the enhanced capacity of the agency's officers. “The seizure is a validation of enhanced capacity of officers due to series of training programmes carried out by the agency. The training covering investigation, raid operations as well as prosecution was conducted with the assistance of the United States government, European Union (EU) and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
“This is just a tip of the iceberg because as the benefits of these training begin to manifest, more drugs shall be detected, and cartels dislodged in the days ahead.”
Colonel Abdallah added that the NDLEA is determined to make the business unattractive to drug cartels by denying them the huge profits that serve as motivation. He called on all stakeholders to join inthe anti-narcotic campaign in the new year, adding that drug proceeds could be used to fund terrorism and bribe government officials, thereby stifling economic and social development.
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