NDLEA arrests police inspector conveying drugs by staff bus
• Court sentences pilgrim to 10 years with hard labour
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Lokoja, Kogi State, yesterday paraded a police inspector, Abali Zagi, with the Nigeria Police Force headquarters’ welfare bus loaded with 818.2kg of Cannabis Sativa.
The NDLEA Commander, Muhammad Idris Bello, while parading the suspects, indicated that the police officer and two other accomplices were arrested along Lokoja-Okene road on their way from Okpeila.
He said his patrol team had earlier allowed him a free pass but perceived the smell of weeds and decided to pursue the bus and arrested them. After a thorough search, the exhibits were found.
According to him, another suspect, who is a dismissed military officer, Umar Shehu, was arrested with 44kg of the banned substance. Bello said he was dismissed from the Nigerian Army because of mutiny in Maiduguri when they refused to fight Boko Haram. Also paraded was one Aminat Iredia, arrested alongside her four-year-old child, with 32.4kg.
The commander indicated that drug peddlers were fond of using the ploy of carrying little children to draw sympathy so that by the time they were arrested, they could be left off the hook. “We have sent for their people to come and take away the boy because he is innocent. He has nothing to do with NDLEA.”
Meanwhile, Justice B.O. Quadri of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has sentenced a 55-year-old female pilgrim, Binuyo Basirat Iyabo, to 10 years imprisonment with hard labour. She was caught last September while smuggling 76 pellets of cocaine weighing 931 grammes to Medina, Saudi Arabia.
In his judgment delivered yesterday, Quadri said the sentence would serve as a deterrent to others. Besides, he said the hard labour was added to the sentence because the convict failed to reveal the identity of her sponsors.
Binuyo tested positive to narcotic ingestion at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja while on pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia last September. She was immediately placed under observation by officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), where she excreted seventy-six (76) pellets of substances found to be cocaine.
NDLEA commander at the Abuja airport, Hamisu Lawan, said the convict, married with three children and a trader at Dosumu market in Lagos, in her statement, agreed to smuggle the drugs for a fee.
“I wanted to expand my cosmetic business but I have no money. My sponsor offered to foot my expenses to Saudi on pilgrimage. I was excited until I was asked to take drugs along. I wanted to decline but considering the offer of a million naira, I accepted. I swallowed the drugs in Lagos and took a flight to Abuja on my way to Medina,” she stated.