Every arrangement appeared to have been made for a 65 year old grandmother to smuggle 1.740kg of cocaine into London in herbal syrup. It was not her fist time of going to London and the drug was cleverly packed to avoid detection. It was packed in balloons and inserted in ten plastic containers of herbal syrup. The suspect, Hassan Fatimat Abike also known as Chika Okoye was to board a British Airways flight when officers of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) arrested her at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos on Wednesday.
According to the Airport Commander, Mr. Hamza Umar, the suspect has two international passports that bear Hassan Fatimat Abike. Her passport numbers are A03348648 and A3771781A. “She was caught during the screening of British Airways passengers to London. The cocaine found in her possession was packed in balloons and prepared into the shape of the plastic bottles. It was also wrapped in black polythene inside 10 plastic bottles of local herbal mixtures. Each bottle was neatly sealed to avoid suspicion”, Hamza explained.
Preliminary investigation revealed that she is also known as Chika Okoye. She speaks Ibo and Yoruba fluently. Her father is a native of Abeokuta while her mother hails from Owerri, Imo State. Hassan Fatimat Abike also known as Chika Okoye has six children and many grandchildren. She currently lives alone in Owerri and sells clothes to earn a living. The drug found in her bag tested positive for cocaine and weighed 1.740kg.
In her statement, she claimed ownership of the drug stating that it was given to her by a friend.“I live at Owerri alone because my children are grown up and now have their families. I sell clothes to take care of myself. I met an old friend two weeks ago and during our discussion, I told him I will soon be traveling to London. He asked me to deliver some herbal medicine to his sick relative in London. I was only trying to assist an old friend. I blame myself for everything because I should have turned down his request. The drug was detected during search at the airport” she stated.
Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade said that the Agency is investigating her claim. “The case is under investigation to ascertain her role. This is very worrisome considering the fact that she is a grandmother” Giade stated. He urged members of the public to be vigilant because drug barons are desperate to smuggle drugs and are prepared to use anybody.
The suspect will soon be charged to court.
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