BusinessDay

NDLEA arrests ex-footballer for cocaine trafficking

…nabs 2 Malians over attempt to export Akuskura

Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have arrested an ex-footballer, Okafor Emmanuel, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.

A statement on Sunday by Femi Babafemi, the agency’s director of media and advocacy, said that Okafor was arrested on his arrival from Sao Paulo, Brazil via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on board an Ethiopian airlines flight with 1.40kg crack cocaine concealed in his bags.

Babafemi said the 33-year-old ex-footballer was arrested on Monday, September 26, 2022, after anti-narcotic officers discovered he concealed the illicit substance in the handles of his bags and padded the top edges of the same with the class ‘A’ drug.

Okafor, according to Babafemi, told the NDLEA operatives during preliminary investigations that he was an ex-footballer with the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Enugu FC, where he played for four seasons before leaving for Sri Lanka in 2014.

He also said he moved to Brazil from Sri Lanka after playing for two seasons but could not advance his football career in Brazil due to the lack of official documents.

The anti-narcotics agency said another Brazilian returnee, Ibeh Chinedu was also arrested the same day upon his arrival at the Lagos airport from Sao Paulo, Brazil via Ethiopian airlines flight. Ibeh was found to have concealed 3.20kg black cocaine popularly known as ‘Lucci’ in the false bottoms of his two bags.

In his statement, he said he was to be paid N3 million on the successful delivery of the drug in Nigeria.

“In the same vein, an attempt by a 32-year-old businesswoman, Pamela Odin to traffic 2.150kg tablets of rohypnol through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja to Istanbul, Turkey has been thwarted by NDLEA operatives.

The mother of one was arrested on Friday, September 23, while attempting to board a Turkish airline flight with the drug concealed inside pepper and packed among foodstuff.

The suspect confessed to be operating a restaurant in Istanbul, Turkey but came to Nigeria to see her relatives and buy food items for her restaurant business.

Meanwhile, two Malians: Mohammed Demoele, 38, and Coulibaly Maliki, 56, have been arrested by officers of the Marine Unit of NDLEA at the Ebute Ero Jetty in Lagos for attempting to export 34.2kg bottles of new psychoactive substance, Akuskura to Mali through Cotonou, Benin Republic.

The agency said that operatives on Thursday, September 29, also intercepted 100 compressed blocks of cannabis sativa weighing 73.500kg, in Taraba State, concealed inside animal feeds, while their counterparts in Ogun State, on Saturday, October 1 arrested a physically challenged drug dealer, Abdulraham Mohammed, with 104kg of compressed cannabis sativa recovered from him.

Another suspect, Safiya Bello, was also arrested in Shagamu area of the state with 27kg of psychotropic substance.

Buba Marwa, chairman of the NDLEA, commended the officers and men of seaports operations, MMIA, Ogun, and Taraba commands for their resilience, and charged them and others across the country to intensify their offensive against drug cartels and traffickers in the country.

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