The acting Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mrs. Roli Bode-George, has decried the death sentence passed on a Nigerian, Ekene Collins Isaac, by a Malaysian High Court.
Ekene, 37, was found guilty of smuggling 915.6g of methamphetamine, commonly known as ecstasy or MDMA, into Malaysia three years ago.
The High Court judge, Datuk Wan Afrah Wan Ibrahim, said the prosecution had proven Isaac’s guilt beyond doubt as she passed down the death sentence.
A statement by the Head, Public Affairs of the agency, Ofoyeju Mitchell, said Roli, however, promised that diplomatic efforts would be explored to save the convict and assured Nigerians that the agency would maintain total alertness in drug detection operation all through the year.
She gave the assurance while speaking on the discovery of drugs in tin packs and arrest of a suspected drug trafficker on Boxing Day at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos with substances that tested positive to cocaine on his way from Brazil. The drug packed in six wraps weighing 120 grammes was inserted into his anus.
The second suspect wanted to export a consignment containing 1.860kg of methamphetamine sealed in tin tomato paste to South Africa when he was arrested.
“The Nigerian government will work to protect every citizen from untimely death resulting from drug trafficking and drug abuse. We shall remain vigilant at all times and prevent drug trafficking syndicates from smuggling narcotic drugs in and out of the country. While respecting the laws of other countries, the federal government will explore diplomatic means to prevent capital punishment on citizens,” George said.
She said special arrangements had been made for officers to sustain intense surveillance all through the festive period and in the New Year, adding that it would cover the land borders, seaports, airports as well as all villages, towns and cities.
According to her, the agency was working very hard to uncover other members of the cartel.
NDLEA commander at the Lagos airport, Ahmadu Garb, who gave the names of the suspects as Ikeh Maxwell Obumneme, 40, and Nwakpo Tochukwu Akumma, 27, said the suspects targeted the festive period to smuggle drugs.
“Intelligence report received by the agency indicated that the suspects specifically targeted the festive season to smuggle their drugs,” he said.
He stated that Obumneme, who inserted cocaine in his anus from Sao Paulo through Dubai on Emirates flight, was caught on arrival while Tochukwu that hid methamphetamine in tomato paste meant for export to South Africa on South Africa Airways flight was equally arrested”.
Obumneme, who hails from Oji River in Enugu State, said that this was his first time of dealing in drugs. “I am married with a child and live in Lagos. I sell children diapers and clothes but travelled to Brazil two months ago expecting to buy my goods at a cheaper price.
“In the process, I decided to smuggle 120 grammes of cocaine for monetary gains. I inserted six wraps of the drugs into my anus yet it was detected and that was how I was arrested. This is my first time” he stated.
Tochukwu, an automobile parts dealer at Ladipo market, Lagos said he was THISDonly assisting a friend to send a consignment of foodstuff to South Africa.
“I am 27 years old and I am single. I sell motor parts at Ladipo market. My friend in South Africa asked me to send a luggage to him. He called somebody in Lagos who brought the bag to me and I took it to the airport for shipment. During a search, the drug was detected and I was arrested” Nwakpo stated.
Both suspects will soon be charged to court, Thisday reported .