By Josephine Odum-John
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have arrested two persons in Lagos in connection with alleged drug crime.
NDLEA operatives at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) carried out the operation that led to the arrest of a driver and a trader over unlawful importation of two hundred and fifty-two wraps of cocaine weighing 4.325kgs.
The suspects were found to have ingested and stuffed wraps of cocaine on their bodies and luggage during screening of passengers on an Emirates flight from Dubai. Both suspects ingested some wraps of drugs and concealed others on their bodies. The estimated value of the drug is thirty-nine million naira (N39,000,000).
NDLEA commander at the airport, Ahmed Garba said that both suspects are under investigation. “Chinweuba Martins Echezona, 54 year-old packed 103 wraps of cocaine on his waist and ingested 69 wraps weighing 2.745kgs while Ekwueme Louis, 44 year-old concealed 75 wraps in his luggage and ingested 5 wraps. We are investigating the suspects over unlawful importation of cocaine from Dubai” Garba stated.
Preliminary investigation by the Agency revealed that the suspects were promised half a million naira each to smuggle the drugs from Dubai to Nigeria. Their trip was fully sponsored by an unidentified drug trafficking organisation. However, efforts are ongoing to trace and arrest their sponsors. Martins is married with five children while Louis is married with three children.
Chinweuba Martins Echezona a driver told narcotic investigators that he was frustrated as a driver. In his words, “I am a driver but for some time now I have been out of job. I have been searching for job and my condition is so bad that I could not feed and discharge my responsibilities as a father to my wife and five children. This was the reason I went into drug trafficking because they promised to pay me half a million naira. I did it in order to survive the economic hardship”. He hails from Anambra State.
The second suspect who is a trader also attributed his involvement in drug trafficking to poverty. “I used to sell jewelleries but I have lost everything including my shop due to family problem. I feel ashamed that I cannot take care of my family and pay the school fees of my children. My involvement in drug smuggling was due to financial poverty” Ekwueme who hails from Imo State stated.
Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLE.A, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah retired has ordered speedy investigation of their cases. He assured that drug traffickers will meet with brick wall at all exit points. According to Abdallah, “let me assure members of the public that the NDLEA has taken measures to fortify the exit points in the country. Drug traffickers will find it difficult to break through our security barriers. The ultimate objective is to have a society that is free from illicit drug production, trafficking and abuse. This arrest is being investigated and we hope to trace other persons linked to the crime”.
The suspects will soon be charged to court.