Officers of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have prevented the illegal exportation of 19.8kg of dried weeds suspected to be cannabis sativa to Dubai, United Arab Emirate (UAE). Two ladies are also being interrogated in connection with the drug seizure. The arrest took place at the departure hall of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos during the screening of passengers on an Etihad flight to Dubai. The drug was concealed in foodstuff and local alcoholic beverage called Alomo Bitters.
The NDLEA commander at the Lagos Airport, Mr Hamza Umar, while confirming the arrest said that the case was under investigation. “We found 78 parcels of dried weeds that tested positive for cannabis sativa weighing 19.8kg in the luggage of 30-year-old Ebere Ohakwe Sandra, and 33-year-old Obidike Ugochukwu Maureen. The drug was detected during the outward screening of passengers on an Etihad flight to Dubai. The case is under investigation and the suspects are assisting our team of investigators,” Hamza stated.
According to Ebere Ohakwe Sandra who lives and sells foodstuff in Dubai, her travel agent told her to smuggle cannabis in exchange for her visa. In her statement Sandra said “I used to export foodstuff to Dubai since 2012. Each time I go to Dubai I stay for two months and come back because I have no permanent visa. I came to Nigeria since December 2014 to spend the Christmas and New Year at home. While I was preparing to go back, my travel agent in Dubai called me that somebody will give me a parcel to take to him. My first question was that I hope it is not cocaine, and he said that it was not cocaine but weed and that it is not something serious. He also promised me that if I can take it to him he will prepare my next visa for free. That was how I agreed to take it”.
Sandra who is a 2010 graduate of Economics from the Enugu State University of Science and Technology also explained how she implicated her friend Obidike Ugochukwu Maureen. “Maureen is my friend. We met in Port Harcourt and had been chatting always. She told me she would like to visit Dubai to buy clothes because she sells female clothes. We concluded that we will both travel to Dubai when I am returning in January 2015. Since she had only hand luggage, I decided to check in some of my luggage in her name because I had 80kg and do no not want to pay the excess charge. Unfortunately, NDLEA discovered drugs in the luggage I checked in her name and we were both arrested. I regret accepting to take the drug. I have learnt my lessons,” Sandra stated.
Obidike Ugochukwu Maureen in her statement said that she is a victim of wrong company.
“My friend did not tell me that she had drugs in the luggage she checked in my name. She told me that it was all foodstuff but it turned out to be cannabis. I feel very sad,” Maureen stated.
Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade, called on travellers to be sure of the content of their luggage.
“Let me call on members of the public to take necessary preventive measures to ensure that they have no drugs in their luggage. They must also not collect luggage from people when travelling. This is very important because such luggage may contain drugs. I also urge them to report any person suspected to be involved in drug trafficking to the Agency,” Giade stated.
The NDLEA boss also assured that the case will be properly investigated and culprits charged to court.