A suspected drug lord and Lagos socialite, Fumilola Arike Ogbuaya, a.k.a. Arike Fumilola Ogundipe, was arraigned by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) before Justice Hadiza Rabiu Shagari of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos on Thursday.
Mrs. Ogbuaya was arraigned in an amended charge No. FHC/L/124c/2017, Federal Republic of Nigeria v. Omolara Odeyemi a.k.a. Ariyo Monsurat Olabisi and Fumilola Arike Oggbuaya a.k.a. Arike Fumilola Ogundipe.
A statement by NDLEA spokesman Mitchell Ofoyeju said that the defendant was facing a three-count charge of conspiracy, aiding and procuring of substances found to be cocaine at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.
He said that the suspect pleaded not guilty to all charges brought against her by the anti-narcotic agency.
According to Mr. Ofoyeju, Justice Shagari, in her ruling, granted Mrs. Ogbuaya’s bail application on the grounds that the first defendant in the case, Omolara Odeyemi, had been granted bail by the court.
Mrs. Ogbuaya was, however, ordered to be remanded in prison custody pending the perfection of her bail conditions. The judge adjourned the case to June 28 and 29, 2017 for trial.
It would be recalled that Mrs. Ogbuaya, an alcoholic beverage distributor who hails from Ilesa, Osun State, was implicated in a case of unlawful exportation of 1.595kg of cocaine to Saudi Arabia in February 2017 at the Lagos Airport.
Officers of the NDLEA had visited her Lagos residence on a follow-up operation, but she was not at home when they stormed the premises.
“The suspect also ignored official invitation for several months from the agency requesting her to clear herself in the ongoing cocaine investigation,” Mr. Ofoyeju told our correspondent.
He explained that NDLEA had also secured an interim forfeiture order for several assets worth billions of naira traced to the drug baroness.
The spokesman added that the anti-narcotics agency was at present working on a final forfeiture order on the landed properties and assets traced to Mrs. Ogbuaya in Lagos, Ogun and Osun States.
The assets include Arike Plaza, some plots of land and buildings in strategic locations.
Commenting on the issue, NDLEA Chief Executive Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (retd.) expressed great optimism with the development.
He said that there was enough evidence to successfully prosecute the suspect.
“I am glad about the arraignment and I am confident that the defendant will be diligently and successfully prosecuted. There is enough evidence to win the case because we have done a detailed investigation,” he said.
He also assured members of the public that justice would be served by the court.