NDLEA in Lagos seizes N28 billion cocaine from hairstylist, others at airport


Drug substances tested positive for cocaine worth N21 billion have been recovered from a hairstylist, Jennifer Onyejegbu, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

However, officials discovered another drug later confirmed to be cocaine worth N7 billion in luggage abandoned at the E-arrival hall of the airport after the inward clearance of passengers on Ethiopian airline.

“Based on information on the luggage tag, the luggage arrived in Nigeria from Sao Paulo, Brazil, a destination classified as a high-risk country going by records and trends of arrest and seizures.

Four persons; Abubakar Aliyu, Ikechukwu Eze, Emmanuel Aniebonam and Onwurah Kelvin were later arrested in connection with the drug.

The two seizures were reportedly made on 25 and 27 January with the 26.840 kilograms cocaine recovered from 33-year-old Onyejegbu. It was described as the biggest single seizure from an individual in the past 15 years.

An official of the agency said, “The female passenger (Onyejegbu) arrived in Nigeria from Sao Paulo, Brazil via Addis Ababa, was intercepted by NDLEA operatives. As a standard operating procedure, all passengers to and from high-risk countries are always profiled using passengers’ manifest. It happened that the above-named suspect was targeted.

“Consequently, she was taken to the NDLEA office at the airport, where her bags were searched thoroughly, and in the process, whitish powdery substances were found concealed inside 16 pieces of duvet contained in her two travel bags.

“Field test was conducted on the recovered substances and proved positive to be cocaine weighing 26.850 kilograms. The suspect who is a hairstylist and based in Brazil was interviewed and she confessed to have agreed to smuggle the hard drug for the sum of N2 million.”

Although the suspect refused to disclose the names of her associates, she reportedly stated that she was asked to hand over the drugs to another person.

“The street value of this singular seizure is put at over N21 billion,” the official added.

Another senior official of the anti-narcotic agency said the abandoned bag recovered two days earlier was also sent from Sao Paulo.

The source said, “Subsequently, the bag was transferred to the NDLEA ‘Legal Seat’ being the administrative office at the passenger terminal of the MMIA for detention. While this was going on, the NDLEA Commander at the MMIA, Ahmadu Garba, received an intelligence report of a purported plan to clear a consignment containing hard drugs through the Lagos airport.

“Coincidentally, the details sent matched the bag earlier detained by the operatives at the Lagos airport. In a coordinated operation, on January 27, 2021, an NDLEA undercover agent was contacted by one Abubakar Aliyu. Guided by the operation and investigation unit, the undercover agent successfully lured the said Aliyu into the cargo terminal of the airport where he was arrested.”


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