NDLEA declares prophetess, celebrity couple wanted over seized illicit drugs
Arrests four members of cartel, gets order to freeze millions in bank accounts
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has declared a Port Harcourt-based prophetess and founder of Christ Power Adoration Ministries, Faith Ugochi, and a celebrity couple- Igho Ubiribo and Danielle Simba Allen wanted for recruiting teenage girls into drug trafficking, while they serve as the arrowheads of an international syndicate operating from Los Angeles, United States of America (USA).
The cartel was exposed when NDLEA operatives at the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) import shed of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos, intercepted a consignment of 32.70 kilogrammes of Loud, a strong variant of Cannabis sativa concealed in cartons of used wears on Wednesday, November 16, 2022.
spokesperson for the Agency, Femi Babafemi, in a statement, yesterday, said a freight agent, Ukoh Ifeanyi Oguguo, was arrested while further investigations led to the arrest of four more suspects: Chikodi Favour; Obiyom Shalom Chiamaka; Nnochiri Chidinma Promise and Edward Omatseye (aka Montana).
According to Babafemi, 15-year-old Favour was the first sales girl to be arrested at a fuel station in Ajah area of Lagos.
She thereafter led the operatives to a duplex accommodation around the Ikate area of Lekki, which was later discovered to be a rented apartment by the criminal group, purposely for four young girls that the syndicate uses for marketing and distribution of illicit drugs.
Another girl, Shalom, who is a fresh graduate of Agricultural Science from Rivers State University of Science and Technology was picked from the house alongside Favour.
“During their preliminary interviews, it was learnt that the syndicate rented another building used as drugs warehouse inside Richmond Estate, Lekki. By the time operatives located the house, it was discovered that other members of the syndicate had broken into the store and carted away bags of illicit substances. However, some illicit drug paraphernalia, including sealing machine, bloating machines and packaging bags were recovered from the warehouse. A follow-up operation led to the arrest of Edward Omatseye at his residence around Lekki area. Edward confessed during interview to be working for Igho and his wife, Danielle, who are identified as the overall heads of the criminal group.
“ Investigation was able to establish that Favour and Shalom were recruited as salesgirls in the illicit drug trade by the Prophetess, using her church platform to recruit teenage girls brought to her for help, on behalf of the celebrity couple-Igho Ubiribo (aka Tiny) and Danielle Simba Allen (aka Dani), who are the owners of the business, while Edward Omatseye (aka Montana) coordinates the illicit drug trade activities for them in Nigeria, with Nnochiri Chidinma Promise, as representative of Ben Cargo Ltd, a freight company responsible for the shipment of illicit consignments into the country.
“ While Nnochiri Chidinma Promise and Edward Omatseye (aka Montana) have already been charged to court and are currently facing trial at the Federal High Court, Lagos alongside Ben Cargo Ltd, a freight company, which had been linked to two previous drug seizures and also involved in the current case, several attempts to get Prophetess Faith Ugochi, Igho Ubiribo and Danielle Simba Allen submit themselves for questioning have proved abortive.
“ A letter of invitation sent to Prophetess Ugochi of Christ Adoration Ministries, No. 27 Anozie Street, Mile 2, Diobu, Port Harcourt, Rivers State on November 28, 2022, was received and acknowledged by her mother, with whom she runs the Church. The letter was followed with a reminder on January 9, 2023, after a long wait.
“In the same vein, letters of invitation were also extended to Igho Ubiribo and Danielle Simba Allen. A reminder was also sent when the couple was not ready to respond to the first invitation. “While Prophetess Ugochi fled her home and went into hiding, but continued her prophetic ministration on Facebook, the duo of Igho and Danielle initially sent a legal representation to ask for another time to honour the invitation, they have since gone incommunicado.
“Curiously, they hurriedly moved all funds traced to their company, Lasgidi Backwood Ltd, where all proceeds from the sales of illicit drugs were deposited into a private account of one Victor Imagoro. The Agency has since blocked the sum of Eighty Million Naira (N80,000,000) traced to the account and obtained a court order to seize all properties, including a fuel station linked to the suspects in Lagos and Port Harcourt.
The NDLEA has further sought and obtained an order of the Federal High Court Lagos to declare wanted the celebrity couple: Ubiribo Igho and Danielle Allen, as the arrowheads of the illicit trade as well as Prophetess Faith Ugochi, who recruits teenage girls as sales representatives for the duo.
Meanwhile, the Agency in collaboration with other stakeholders including the Customs Service on Friday, March 31, conducted a joint examination of two containers marked TRHU 4758549 and TRHU 6936803, where 143,800,000 tablet pills of tramadol 225mg were discovered in 720 cartons weighing 10.3tons (10,386kgs). The opioid pills, which were mixed with cartons of sweet were imported from India. The interception followed credible intelligence and cooperation of sister agencies.
In the same vein, officers of the Directorate of Operations and General Investigations (DOGI) have intercepted at a courier firm a cargo of 1.5kg cocaine concealed in a carton declared to contain hair cream, shampoo, hair rollers and burners, going to London, UK.
In Kaduna, operatives on Monday, March 27, raided Dan Wata village, Soba Local Council where they arrested one Abdurrashid Musa, 33, with 142.8kg Cannabis sativa, while the principal suspect, Ibro Danwata is still at large, while another suspect, Shamsu Abdullahi (aka Waja), 35, was also arrested the previous day during a follow-up operation at Rigasa Kaduna after he had abandoned 80,000 tablets of Diazepam weighing 13.4kg and escaped arrest earlier.
About 63 bags of Cannabis sativa weighing 600kg stored in a house at Okpe village in Akoko-Edo Local Council were recovered on Friday, March 31, when operatives raided the area, while a raid of a warehouse owned by one Shehi Mallam at tomatoes market, Dei Dei Abuja same day led to the seizure of 80 sacks of Cannabis sativa weighing 842.4 kilogrammes.
In Cross River State, 12,000 pills of tramadol 225mg were seized from a female passenger, Talatu Sale Adamu, 46, when NDLEA officers intercepted the commercial bus she was travelling in along Ogoja/ Katsina-Ala road on Monday 27th March.
While a suspect, Abraham Alaigwu was arrested at Slaughter, Trans/Amadi area of Port Harcourt, Rivers State with 91.7kg of cannabis on Thursday 30th March, 228kg of same substance was seized from Ayodele Osuya, 35, in a Toyota Camry car around Quarter Guard area of Akure in Ondo State.
Meanwhile, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (Retd), has commended officers for the arrests and assured that no effort will be spared to ensure the fleeing suspects are brought to face the consequences of their action.
He also expressed his gratitude to operatives of Apapa, DOGI, Edo, Cross River, Rivers, Kaduna, FCT and Ondo Commands of the Agency for their resilience, professionalism and excellent synergy with other security agencies in their areas of responsibility and charged them and their colleagues across the country to continue to raise the bar in their daily attainments.