South African security operatives have rearrested a fugitive Nigerian drug dealer, Okonkwo Nwabuike, who jumped bail and fled the country more than three years ago after failing to appear in court. 

He was rearrested while trying to re-enter the country on a flight from Nigeria.

Okonkwo Kingsley Nwabuike

Nwabuike, 46, was rearrested at O. R. Tambo International Airport on Thursday, January 21, by the Hawks —South Africa's Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), which targets organised crime, economic crime, corruption, and other serious crime referred to it by the President or the South African Police Service. 

“His arrest followed information received from Interpol about the suspect, who was declared wanted in August 2017 for dealing in drugs. He was said to be arriving at the airport in Johannesburg from Nigeria (when he was arrested). The Hawks pounced on him shortly after his arrival,” the Hawks spokesperson, Captain Dineo Sekgotodi, said on Friday.

Nwabuike was initially arrested along with Cypriah Joshua Emeka, 31, on August 31 2017 in Secunda during a search and seizure operation. They were found in possession of crystal meth, Kat and uncut rock drugs valued at R300,000.

"They were both released on bail. Emeka continued with his court appearances while Nwabuike failed to appear in court and jumped bail. He fled to his country and a warrant of arrest was issued against him and he was flagged and circulated as a wanted suspect,” the Hawks said. 

Nwabuike appeared before the Secunda Magistrates' Court on Friday, January 22, 2021, and the case was posponed to January 26 for a formal bail application. 

Meanwhile, the provincial head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, Major General Zodwa Mokoena, applauded the team for the swift response and collaborative working relationship between the local police and Interpol, which led to the arrest.

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