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NDLEA arrests ‘cleric’ with marijuana at Lagos airport

By Bertram Nwannekanma, Lagos and Odita Sunday, Abuja
14 March 2022   |   4:03 am
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, have arrested a so-called General Overseer of Christ Living Hope Church, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos...

Obimma

• Seizes 40 parcels of cocaine, consignments of heroin, codeine, tramadol
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, have arrested a so-called General Overseer of Christ Living Hope Church, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos, while on his way to a three-week crusade in Nairobi, Kenya, with 54 sticks of drugs wrapped around his body.

The youthful preacher, Rev. Ugochukwu Emmanuel Ekwem, who has his church headquarters in Isuaniocha, Mgbakwu road, Awka, Awka North Local Council of Anambra State and two other branches in Lagos and Abuja, was arrested on Monday, March 7, during the outward clearance of passengers on Ethiopian Airlines flight to Nairobi via Addis Ababa.

When tested, the 54 sticks proved positive to cannabis. The clergyman confessed during preliminary interview that he packed that quantity of illicit substance on his body to use during his three-week crusade in Kenya.

On the same day, another passenger, Nnakeanyi Chukwuka King, who arrived the airport on Ethiopian Airlines flight from Sao Paulo, Brazil via Addis Ababa was intercepted during the inward clearance of passengers at the E-Arrival Hall of the MMIA.

During a search of his luggage, 40 parcels of cocaine concealed inside bottles of body cream with a gross weight of 9.70kg were recovered from the suspect.

Spokesperson for the agency, Femi Babafemi in a statement, yesterday, said, another passenger on Ethiopian Airlines flight to Italy, Mr. Edo Blessing was on Wednesday, March 9, intercepted at the departure hall of the airport with 2, 090 tablets of tramadol 225mg and Flunitrazepam.

The suspect, who hails from Edo State, but lives in Italy claimed ownership of the recovered psychotropic substances.

He stressed that on the same day, a freight agent, Rafiu Abbas at the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Export Shed of the airport was also arrested by anti-narcotic operatives, when he presented a cargo containing 19.15kg cannabis going to London.

According to Babafemi, the illicit substance was concealed inside plastic containers labelled as “African Dishes” and packed in a bag.

In a related development, a 63-year-old Vincent Obimma was on Friday, March 11, arrested with 350grammes of cocaine and 150grammes of heroin by NDLEA operatives at a park in the Apapa seaport corridor in Lagos.

The drugs were hidden in industrial torch packets heading to Kano, Kano state.

Also, a drug dealer in Kaduna State, James Okenwa has been arrested in a follow up operation at Central Market, Kaduna.

Babafemi stated that Okenwa admitted the ownership of 1,807 bottles of cough syrup with codeine, which were earlier recovered from two suspects at tollgate.

At the point of his arrest, the NDLEA spokesperson, said another 152 bottles of the drug were recovered from his vehicle and that he has accepted ownership of all the 1,959 bottles of the codeine syrup.

In Yobe State, two fake security agents: Akalonu Justin and Azimbi Festus, who were coming from Onitsha and heading to Maiduguri, Borno State have been arrested with 25 blocks of cannabis sativa weighing 12 .5kg and 1, 598 bottles of codeine syrup weighing 159.8 liters, while 85kg of cannabis was also recovered from the warehouse of a notorious drug dealer in Pawari area of Damaturu, the state capital on Thursday 10th March.

In Anambra State, a total of 38,605 tablets of assorted opioids were recovered from a 29-year-old drug dealer, Awoke Friday at Nkwelle junction, Onitsha on Friday, March 11, with the support of men of the Nigeria Police.

MEANWHILE, Chairman and Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), has commended officers and men of the agency for the impressive seizures and arrests in the past week.

He charged them and their colleagues across the country to stay focus and intensify efforts to rid Nigeria of illicit drugs and substances.

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