The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) arrested two individuals for narcotics possession at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos on Thursday.
NDLEA operatives apprehended one Roland Chukwudi Tochukwu, 37, with 2.045kg of heroin imported from Nairobi, Kenya.
The NDLEA disclosed that the suspect also possessed a fake ticket indicating that he was traveling from China.
NDLEA spokesman Mitchell Ofoyeju said that he intentionally carried the fake travel ticket from China to circumvent security checks.
“Preliminary investigation by the anti-narcotic agency revealed that Tochukwu deliberately replaced his ticket with a fake one showing that he was coming from China instead of Nairobi,” Mr. Ofoyeju said. “This was intended to place him on a low risk profile, but his expectations were dashed as the heroin concealed inside his luggage was detected during a screening of passengers on an Ethiopian Airline flight.”
Commenting on the arrest, NDLEA Commander at the Lagos airport, Ahmadu Garba, added that drugs are more expensive in Asia, so passengers from Asian countries are generally not suspected to be trafficking drugs from there.
“The suspect wanted to distract the attention of officers by presenting himself as coming from China while he actually took off from Nairobi. This is because it is economically unwise to bring narcotics from China where the price is far higher than here in Nigeria,” Mr. Garba said.
Another suspect, Maduka Nnemeka Peter, 39, was also caught attempting to export 1.555kg of cocaine to Dubai from Lagos.
“Heroin weighing 2.045kg was found inside the luggage of Tochukwu while Maduka also concealed 1.555kg of cocaine in his luggage on his way to Dubai on an Etihad flight,” he said.
Mr. Tochukwu, a trader in Onitsha who is married with three children, confessed that he was introduced to the illicit business by his friend.
“This was the plan of my friend who introduced me into drug trafficking. I sell clothes in Onitsha, but my business is as good as dead due to the economic recession,” he said. “My friend that I contacted for financial assistance requested that I bring a bag containing heroin from Nairobi. The fake ticket was the plan of my friend who assured me that I will never be caught.”
Mr. Peter, an automobile parts dealer based in Aba with his wife and two children, also decried his involvement in the dastardly act.
He claimed that he lost goods worth N4 million naira a few years ago and since the loss, his life has been difficult.
Mr. Peter confessed that he would have been paid N200,000 by his sponsors if he succeeded with the exportation of the drugs out of the country, stressing that he had planned to use the proceeds to solve family problems.
NDLEA Chief Executive Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (retd.) assured that the agency would continue to work hard and remain vigilant in its counter-narcotics mission.
"We are always ahead of drug barons because of our commitment to training and security vigilance in detecting and nipping every subterfuge in the bud. The agency will continue to sustain its dominance over drug cartels,” Mr. Abdallah stated.
The suspects, both Anambra State natives, will be charged to court.