A South African-bound Nigerian, Abiodun Israel Banjo, 45 has been arrested at the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos for alleged attempt to export 3.435 kilogrammes of methamphetamine valued N31 million.
Commander of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the airport, Ahmadu Garba was made during outward screening of passengers on a South African Airways flight to South Africa.
“The drug was detected during routine check on passengers on South Africa Airways flight to South Africa. Two bags belonging to one Abiodun Israel Banjo, 45 years old were found to contain parcels of methamphetamine. Inside the bags were food ingredients and clothes but underneath was a thin parcel of narcotics carefully concealed. He was immediately arrested and investigation is on-going,” Garba stated.
Garba said the Osun State-born suspect, a graduate of Technical College, Ijebu-Ode, had been living in South Africa since 2012.
He said suspect who works in South Africa told the NDLEA interrogators that his unnamed South African-based friend gave him the bags and that he never suspected that the bags contained hard drug.
Garba quoted the suspect as saying: “I work in Pretoria. My friend in South Africa called me that his brother will give me two bags containing foodstuff to take to him. He also promised to give me two thousand dollars. I opened the bags and check thoroughly but could not find anything criminal that was how I accepted to take the bags but I was surprised when the drug was detected under the bags. I feel very sad that my friend has implicated me.”
In his reaction, the chief executive officer of NDLEA, Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah called on members of the public to be aware of tricks employed by drug trafficking cartels.
“Drug traffickers recruit mules by enticing them with money. They are very clever in concealing drugs as drugs have been detected in bags, electronics, foodstuff and clothes among others. We strongly advise that all passengers should endeavour to pack their bags themselves and avoid taking bags for others” Abdallah stated.
The NDLEA boss added that ignorance is no excuse in drug trafficking saying the suspect would be charged to court for unlawful exportation of narcotics.
“A person shall be deemed to have exported a narcotic drug or psychotropic substance under this NDLEA Act if he brings to or deposits the narcotic drug or psychotropic substance concerned at any time at any customs area such as airports, customs port or any other customs point generally,” he added.