Three suspected drug traffickers are being interrogated for swallowing 233 wraps of powdery substances that tested positive for cocaine weighing 5.05kg.
The suspects were apprehended on Wednesday during outward screening of passengers by officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA).
Two of the suspects, Obiekwe Frank Chuma and Okoye Jacob Okwuchukwu were going to Hong Kong while Chukwuyere Prince Emmanuel was caught on his way to Italy. NDLEA commander at the Lagos airport, Hamza Umar gave a breakdown of the seized drugs.
According to him, “Obiekwe, 47, ingested 80 wraps weighing 1.930kg; Okoye, 43, ingested 70 wraps weighing 1.515kg while Chukwunyere, 39, ingested 83 wraps weighing 1.605kg”.
Prince was going to Bologna in Italy through Frankfurt on Lufthansa. Obiekwe was about boarding Emirates Airline while Okoye was supposed to board Etihad flight.
Obiekwe said he used to be a textile merchant before he suffered financial setback.
“I was given admission at Edo State University but dropped out in 300 levels due to lack of sponsorship.
In 1997, I came to Lagos and started textile business. Later I began to buy my goods from Czech Republic and Hong Kong before my business suffered serious setback. In the process of looking for assistance, I was introduced into drug trafficking”.
“I was given the drug in a restaurant at Onitsha and they promised to pay me 10,000 dollars. It took me eight hours to swallow the drugs but was arrested at the airport,” he said.
Okoye said he met his sponsor at a wedding ceremony.
“I have a Diploma in Computer Science at the Institute of Management Technology (IMT) Enugu. I used to import textiles from Dubai and Hong Kong. My business was flourishing and I have travelled to Hong Kong for over 15 times. I later had problem that took my capital and I was stranded. That was what led me into drug trafficking”.
“I was forced to swallow drugs for many hours in order to continue with my textile business. They promised to pay me over a million naira” he said.
Chukwunyere said he smuggled drugs to settle his bills.
He said: “I am a business man. I supply teaching materials. Armed robbers attacked me and I lost one of my eyes in the process. As I speak, I owe over 15 million naira”.
“I am unable to pay my rent, my children’s school fees and even feeding. My creditors are on my neck daily. This is my first time of trafficking drugs and I was promised 4,000 euros”.
NDLEA Chairman/Chief Executive Ahmadu Giade expressed concern over the way drug traffickers expose themselves to danger by ingesting poisonous drugs. According to Giade, “It is very worrisome that highly poisonous substances like cocaine, methamphetamine and similar drugs are brazenly ingested by drug suspects. Despite the attendant risk, these suspected drug traffickers could still afford to ingest 233 wraps of narcotics.”