Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have arrested a preacher and the General Overseer of Christ Living Hope Church, Rev. Ugochukwu Emmanuel, for carrying 54 sticks of drugs.
The suspect was nabbed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, in Lagos while on his way to a crusade in Nairobi, Kenya, a statement issued by the agency on Sunday said.
Rev. Ugochukwu, who was arrested on Monday, in an outward clearance of passengers on an Ethiopian Airlines flight to Nairobi via Addis Ababa, was said to have wrapped the drugs around his body.
“When tested, the 54 sticks proved positive to cannabis. The clergyman confessed during [a] preliminary interview that he packed that quantity of illicit substance on his body to use during his three weeks crusade in Kenya,” NDLEA spokesman, Femi Babafemi, said in the statement.
The preacher’s church headquarters is in Isuaniocha, Mgbakwu Road, Awka, Awka North Local Government Area, Anambra State. He has branches in Lagos and Abuja.
Similarly, another passenger, Nnakeanyi Chukwuka King, was intercepted with 40 parcels of Cocaine concealed in bottles of body cream weighing 9.70kg. They were recovered from him during a stop and search operation.
He was intercepted at the E-Arrival Hall of the MMIA and had boarded an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Sao Paulo, Brazil via Addis Ababa.
This is as the agency intercepted one Edo Blessing, three days later, at the Departure Hall of the airport with 2, 090 tablets of Tramadol 225mg and Flunitrazepam. The suspect, who is from Edo State and had boarded an Ethiopian Airlines flight, claimed ownership of the recovered psychotropic substances.
“Also on the same day, operatives arrested a freight agent, Rafiu Abbas at the NAHCO Export Shed of the airport when he presented a cargo containing 19.15kg cannabis going to London. The illicit substance was concealed inside plastic containers labelled as ‘African Dishes’ and packed in a bag,” the NDLEA added.
Also in Lagos, a 63-year-old Vincent Obimma was arrested on Friday in the Apapa Seaport corridor in Lagos with 350grams of cocaine and 150grams of heroin. The drugs were hidden in industrial torch packets heading to Kano, Kano State.
In a related development, James Okenwa was arrested in a follow-up operation at the Central Market, Kaduna. The suspect admitted ownership of 1,807 bottles of cough syrup with codeine that were earlier recovered from two suspects at the tollgate.
“At the point of his arrest, another 152 bottles of the drug were recovered from his vehicle. He has accepted ownership of all the 1,959 bottles of the codeine syrup,” the agency’s statement explained.
There were also seizures and arrests in Yobe and Anambra states. In the former, two fake security agents, Akalonu Justin and Azimbi Festus, were arrested with 25 blocks of Cannabis Sativa weighing 12 .5kg and 1, 598 bottles of Codeine Syrup weighing 159.8 litres. They were coming from Onitsha and heading to Maiduguri in Borno State.
Another 85kg of Cannabis was recovered from the warehouse of a notorious drug dealer in the Pawari area of Damaturu, the state capital on Thursday.
“In Anambra state, a total of 38,605 tablets of assorted opioids were recovered from a 29-year-old drug dealer, Awoke Friday at Nkwelle junction, Onitsha on Friday 11th March with the support of men of the Nigeria Police,” Babafemi’s statement read.
Following the seizures and arrests, the Chairman/ Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa, lauded officers and men of the agency in the affected commands. He urged them to be focused on the fight against illicit drugs.