Drugs: Two in NDLEA net over alleged drug exportation to US, Qatar


Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have nabbed two Nigerians at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos over drug trafficking offences.

They are Okechukwu Oparaji Joseph, a 59-year-old contractor and Nnaji Ikenna Austine, a 41-year-old safety officer.

Oparaji was on his way to New York, United States when he was apprehended while Austine was travelling to Doha, Qatar, when the long hands of the law caught up with them.

The suspects were intercepted during the outward screening of passengers on a Turkish Airline flight to New York and Ethiopian Airline flight to Doha.

NDLEA commander at the airport, Ahmadu Garba, said while under observation, Okechukwu excreted 1.105kg of brownish substances that tested positive for heroin.

Nnaji was found to have concealed 11.540kg of cannabis and 490 grammes of tramadol in his luggage. A team of narcotic officers, he said, is currently investigating the suspects.

Okechukwu, from Imo State, who lives in Surulere, Lagos, in his statement, said challenges of life forced him into drug trafficking.

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He said: “I am sick and in debts. I did not smuggle drugs deliberately. Since 2015, l have been living in abject poverty, to the extent that l cannot take care of my family.

“This is the handiwork of the devil and I regret everything now.” Nnaji, from Enugu State, said he was given the luggage containing the drugs by a friend, adding: “l work as a safety officer in Qatar and I came to Nigeria to visit my parents and make arrangements for my marriage.

“My friend in Qatar called me and asked me to assist him in bringing some foodstuff. When the bag was given to me at the airport, I almost rejected it, because it was too heavy.

“Unfortunately, the drugs were detected by NDLEA officers”.