Attempt by a suspected Pakistani drug cartel to smuggle 25.400kg of high grade heroin into Nigeria has been aborted. This followed the apprehension of a Pakistani student at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). The drug was discovered in the suspect’s luggage during inward screening of passengers on board Qatar airline flight. The estimated street value of the seized drug is two hundred and twenty-eight million naira (N228,000,000).
Preliminary investigation has shown that the suspect left Lahore, Pakistan with the drugs to Abu Dhabi then Doha from where he connected to Lagos. He is believed to be working for a Pakistani drug cartel. This is the largest single seizure of heroin made at the Lagos airport since January 2014.
NDLEA Commander at the Lagos Airport, Mr. Hamza Umar gave the name of the Pakistani as Iftikihar Muhammed Arslan. In his words, “a 19-year-old Pakistani by name Iftikihar Muhammed Arslan was found in possession of 25 parcels of brownish substance that tested positive for heroin weighing 25.400kg at the arrival hall. The drug was hidden in a smaller bag inside his luggage”.
The commander noted that the suspect is cooperating with the Agency’s team of investigators.
The Pakistani, Iftikihar Muhammed Arslan who speaks English fluently has owned up to the crime. “I am a student of Punjab College and I am in Nigeria as a tourist because my friend told me that Victoria Island and Ikoyi are beautiful tourist centres. Unfortunately, when I arrived at the Lagos airport, the heroin was found in my luggage. This is my first time of coming to Nigeria and I had intended to spend a week or two” Iftikihar told investigators.
In his reaction, the Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade who expressed delight over the arrest said that Nigeria is winning the fight against narcotics. “This arrest and seizure will further send a warning to drug trafficking cartels that the Nigeria is winning the fight against narcotics. NDLEA is prepared to halt the criminal activities of drug barons through a coordinated drug detection strategies. We are working very hard to also identify other members of the criminal group” Giade stated.
The NDLEA boss stressed that while investigation is ongoing, more proactive measures shall be taken to prevent the use of Nigeria as a transit point for illicit drugs. All suspects linked to the crime will be charged to court as soon as investigation is concluded.
Head, Public Affairs