A Nigerian living in Pretoria, South Africa, has been arrested with parcels of methamphetamine at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, by officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The arrest took place during the outward screening of passengers on a South African Airline flight to South Africa.
The parcels of drug tested positive for methamphetamine and weighed 3.435 kilogrammes valued at N31 million in Nigeria.
NDLEA commander at the Abuja airport, Ahmadu Garba, said “The drug was detected during routine check on passengers on South Africa Airline flight to South Africa. Two bags belonging to one Abiodun Israel Banjo (45) 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 ongoing,” Ahmadu stated.
The suspect, who works in South Africa, said that the bags were given to him by a friend in South Africa.
His words: “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 checked thoroughly, but could not find anything criminal, that was how I accepted to take the bags. I was surprised when the drug was detected under the bags. I feel very sad that my friend has implicated me.”
The suspect, who has been living in South Africa since 2012, hails from Osun State.
Commenting, the Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah, called on members of the public to be wary 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, maintaining that the suspect would be charged for unlawful exportation of narcotics.
According to Abdallah, “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.”