Officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have arrested a commercial tricycle rider in Owerri and an Abuja-based trader for unlawful importation of 6.390kg of substances that tested positive for heroin.
The suspects, Egwin Chinedu (32) and King Sunday (38), the NDLEA Head of Public Affairs, Ofoyeju Mitchell, said, were apprehended at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos.
One of them was caught on arrival from Kigali, Rwanda while the other was nabbed on arrival from Nairobi, Kenya. The drug, with an estimated street value of N575 million, was hidden in their luggage.
Sunday left his wife after four days of marriage on the guise of a business trip. The suspect told interrogators that he needed money for his honeymoon and business. He said: “I erroneously took the decision to smuggle drugs barely four days after my marriage.
I was in need of money for my honeymoon and also for my business but I should not have involved myself in drug trafficking. My thinking was that I could smuggle the drug from Nairobi in two days without my wife knowing that I travelled out of the country.
All my life, I have been upright in my transactions but this is a huge mistake and I regret my action.” NDLEA Commander at the Lagos airport, Ahmadu Garba, said Chinedu was caught with 3.900kg of heroin while Sunday was found in possession of 2.490kg of heroin.
He said: “Egwin arrived from Kigali on Rwanda Airline flight while King Sunday imported the drug found on him from Nairobi during inward screening of passengers on an Ethiopian Airline flight.
Both suspects are being investigated.” Preliminary investigation by the agency, however, indicated that drug trafficking cartels are gradually changing their mode of operation by turning to African countries in sourcing narcotic drugs like heroin.
Ofoyeju said both suspects were recruited for a fee to import the drugs into the country. Chinedu, who is not married, said he needed money to repair his commercial tricycle.
The commercial tricycle rider in Owerri, Imo State, told investigators that he needed money to change the engine of his tricycle. He said: “The engine of my tricycle, which is my only source of livelihood, is bad.
While I was looking for money to fix it, I was introduced to the man that promised to pay me N400,000 on the condition that I will bring his drug from Kigali.
I accepted the offer because nobody was willing to help me. I dropped out of school in junior secondary class two. Apart from the repairs, my rent is due and my landlord had been asking for his money.”