Ben Ezeamalu


The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has said it saved 20 people from the death penalty in Asia by preventing them from smuggling drugs out of Nigeria.NDLEA-officials

In a statement Thursday, the agency said since January 2014, 19 Nigerians and a Ghanaian have been arrested in Nigerian airports attempting to smuggle 106,914 kilogrammes of narcotics.

“Sixteen of the suspects were apprehended at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos while four others including a Ghanaian were caught at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu,” said Ahmadu Giade, NDLEA’s Chairman.

“Their final destinations are Malaysia, China and Thailand where drug trafficking is punishable by death.”

On Tuesday, four Nigerians were among eight people executed by Indonesian authorities over drug-related offences.

While commiserating with the deceased families, the NDLEA urged relevant authorities to intensify anti-drug abuse campaign efforts.

“I sincerely sympathise with the families of the executed drug convicts,” Mr. Giade said.

“This is a moment of sober reflection on the illicit activities of drug trafficking syndicates. This brings to the fore the bigger picture of those in foreign prisons, those arrested here and others preparing to smuggle drugs.

“It is a wake-up call for stakeholders to step up their counter-narcotics efforts. Apart from drug trafficking being a criminal act, narcotic smuggling poses a serious threat to public health and safety.”

‘Highest criminal convictions’

According to Mr. Giade, the NDLEA has one of the highest criminal convictions in the country, winning 2,054 cases against alleged drug offenders.

“As we work very hard to reduce cases of illicit drug trafficking, it is imperative for individuals and groups to take steps aimed at preventing their loved ones from getting involved in drug abuse and trafficking,” Mr. Giade said.

The breakdown of the drugs nabbed from the 20 suspected smugglers showed that 83.08kg was seized at the Lagos airport while 23.834kg was intercepted at the Enugu airport.

The seized drugs included 89.024kg of cannabis, 9.375kg of methamphetamine, 3.450kg of amphetamine, 2.89kg of heroin and 2.175kg of cocaine.

The only Ghanaian among the suspects, Musa Idrisa, also known as Charles Udenehi, was going to Bangkok, Thailand, with 450 grams of cocaine he had ingested.

Three females were also among those apprehended.

They include Chidinma Okafor, a professional dancer, caught with 3.450kg of amphetamine hidden in a pair of jeans trousers while attempting to board a flight to Malaysia; Eze Maureen caught with 6.200kg of cannabis on her way to China; and Alade Muyinotu found with 1.725kg of cocaine and 1.715kg of heroin on her way to China.

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