The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has said that it has arrested one Basira Binuyo Iyabo, 55, a pilgrim heading to Medina, Saudi Arabia, to perform the annual pilgrimage, after she tested positive to narcotic ingestion at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
A statement by the agency said that it also arrested a 37-year-old father of three, Henry Okpalanem, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, who had inserted seven wraps of cocaine weighing 355 grammes into his anus.
“She (Binuyo) has so far excreted 76 pellets of drugs that tested positive for cocaine. Meanwhile, she is still under observation until the drugs are completely expelled,” Hamisu Lawan, NDLEA commander at the Abuja airport.
The suspect, who was arrested during the outward screening of passengers on an Emirate flight to Medina through Dubai, is a trader at Dosumu market, Lagos. She hails from Irepodun local government area of Kwara State and is married with three children.
“I wanted to expand my cosmetic business but I have no money. My sponsor offered to foot my expenses to Saudi on pilgrimage. I was excited until I was asked to take drugs along. I wanted to decline but considering the offer of a million Naira, I accepted. I swallowed the drugs in Lagos and took flight to Abuja on my way to Medina but I was caught in the process,” she said
Henry Okpalanem was apprehended during an outward screening of passengers on an Ethiopian Airline flight to Hong Kong, China through Addis Ababa.
“The name on his passport is Diara Sauduo while his Nigerian name is Okpalanem Henry. The case is under investigation,” said Ahmadu Garba, NDLEA commander at the Lagos airport.
He said that the suspect, who hails from Imo State, holds a dual citizenship of Nigeria and Mali.
The NDLEA said the suspect did not show any remorse upon his arrest.
“I know that there is capital punishment for drug trafficking in China but I was optimistic of safe passage. Unfortunately, I was caught with only seven wraps. Maybe that is my destiny,” Okpalanem told NDLEA investigators.
“We will continue to be on the alert in protecting all exit and entry points from drug trafficking organisations. I am glad that the suspects were arrested here thus preventing them from untimely death and also protecting the image of our country from disrepute,” said NDLEA Chairman, Colonel Muhammad Abdallah (Rtd).
Credit: PREMIUM TIMES