Officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have foiled the planed importation of narcotics into the country on Sallah day by a drug cartel. This followed the prompt interception of substances suspected to be cocaine and arrest of two suspects during search operations on passengers arriving from Brazil aboard Qatar Airline flights at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA). A shipment of 5.300kg of cocaine hidden inside ladies hand bags was on Sunday November 6, 2011 intercepted at about 2pm. Another seizure of 1.090kg of cocaine was last week detected in the belly of a passenger with the aid of scanning machine.
The seizures are believed to have been masterminded by members of an international drug cartel that smuggles cocaine first from Brazil to West Africa and from West Africa to Europe and America. Arrests have also been made in connection with the cocaine seizures with an estimated street value of over 51 million naira.
According to NDLEA Commander at the MMIA, Hamza Umar, the drug suspects are Olalekan Idris Bamidele, 39, who allegedly checked in a luggage containing 5.300kg into a Qatar Airline flight at Sao Paulo and arrested on arrival at the Lagos airport last Sunday. Similarly, Nnana Kenneth Chukwuma, 39, who swallowed narcotic drugs in Brazil tested positive to drug ingestion at the arrival hall of the Lagos airport and was arrested. While Nnana was under observation, he excreted the ingested drug that tested positive for cocaine weighing 1.090kg.
Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA Ahmadu Giade expressed delight over the arrests particularly that of Olalekan Idris Bamidele who wanted to take advantage of the Islamic festival to import 5.300kg of cocaine into the country. “Though drug barons are wise in exploring ways of smuggling drugs, we are wiser in detecting the drugs and arresting them. This arrest is a warning that we are always at alert to scuttle their next plan. We shall continue to expose their devices until they quit the criminal trade” Giade stated.
In his message to the nation on the occasion of Eid-el Kabir, Giade urged Nigerians to contribute to national peace by supporting the anti-drug campaign programme of the NDLEA. Let us shun drug trafficking and abuse and report any suspicious illegal drug transaction at the nearest NDLEA office. A drug free society is our dream, consciously work towards it.
Olalekan Idris Bamidele who hails from Odogbolu in Ogun State is married with 3 children and had lived in Libya and Malaysia. In September 2011, he travelled to Brazil in search of job opportunities. He was however arrested on his way from Brazil last Sunday with 5.300kg of cocaine at the Lagos airport. The suspect’s wife and children reside at Ikorodu area of Lagos. He attended Saint Paul’s Primary School Odogbolu and had his secondary education at Odogbolu Grammar School. During interrogation, Olalekan told NDLEA investigators that he was asked to deliver the bag containing cocaine in Lagos.
“I am a trained carpenter but I work as a painter to earn a living in Libya. I left there because of the crisis. I thought Brazil will be better for me but it turned out this way. I was asked to bring the bag containing the drug to Nigeria. This is my first time, please help me” Olalekan appealed.
Nnana Kenneth Chukwuma, 39 travelled to Brazil also in search of job opportunities in August 2011. He tested positive for drug ingestion and was arrested at the Lagos airport. Few days later, he excreted wraps of drugs weighing 1.090kg. The suspect sells Nigeria movies and musical discs in Gambia. He is married to a Gambian and has two children. “Hardship forced me into drug trafficking. My family are in Gambia. I was frustrated into smuggling the drugs for half a million naira. I feel bad about my involvement and do not know what to do now” Nnana stated. He hails from Mbaino in Imo State.
Both suspects will soon be charged to court.