During a world press conference in Lagos recently, Chairman and Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Alhaji Ahmadu Giade, had warned of a new wave of drug couriering among Nigerians. The anti-narcotics Czar had warned that drug couriers were getting more sophisticated by the day, but promised that the agency would match the criminals technology for technology. This may have started yielding results as two Nigerians were arrested at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, while arriving from Venezuela.
The two Nigerians, Christian Chidi Ejimbe and Innocent Oluchukwu Egbo, may have blazed the trail in the illicit business of drug trafficking in the history of the country. They were found to have ingested liquid cocaine neatly wrapped inside male condoms. The two drug couriers were detected by the aid of scanning machine at the arrival hall of the airport. Both of them arrived from Venezuela with Emergency Travel Certificate aboard South Africa Airline flight
First to be so apprehended was Ejimbe, a native of Anambra State. Ejimbe, 32, attended Good Shepherd Nursery and Primary School at Nnewi, In Anambra State and Federal Government College Okigwe, Imo State. After his secondary school education, Ejimbe moved up north to the University of Maiduguri from where he graduated in 2002. After his graduation, Ejimbe sought for job but could not lay his hands on any. He then moved to Venezuela for pastures new. He had been living in Caracas, capital of Venezuela for eight years now.
Ejimbe could be classified as one of the few lucky Nigerians resident in the South American nation. No sooner had he settled down there than he got a lecturing job with a language school where he teaches English Language. Ejimbe is reportedly well remunerated in the work he does in Venezuela, but greed and avarice would not allow him concentrate on his job.
Ejimbe, a bachelor, had planned to bid farewell to bachelorhood by middle of this year, but this may not be after all as he awaits arraignment in court for his crime. the promise of N4 million, the offer appeared irresistible for Ejimbe and volunteered to come to Nigeria, his fatherland, using the novel method of couriering drugs. When the aircraft bearing him landed at the Lagos airport, and passengers were made to pass through scanning machines at the entry point, he was picked out of the lot for close observation. It was later discovered that Ejimbe swallowed 54 wraps of same oily cocaine weighing 1.350kg and concealed in his stomach.
In his confessional statement, Ejimbe, who claimed he needed a lot of money for his forth-coming wedding celebration, which really led him to the illicit business, maintained that his Venezuelan sponsor assured him that he would never be caught as the scanning machines in Nigeria are obsolete while the men manning would be fo*led by the new technique being employed.
“It is unfortunate that this has happened to me. I work as a teacher in Venezuela where I am well paid, but I realized that I need a lot of money for my coming wedding. So when they approached me for the deal, I naturally fell in because of the monetary offer. My intention was to get married and settle down,” Ejimbe said.
Egbo, 43, who arrived with an Emergency travel certificate number 00000600, had also been living in Venezuela for 10 years. He attended Ogbete River Primary School, Coal Camp, Enugu, in Enugu State. Egbo, married with two kids told anti-narcotics operatives that he was also assured that Nigeria’s scanning machines would not detect liquid drugs inside condoms. He claimed the assurances given him by his sponsors made him give in to the offer. He was made to ingest 70 wraps of drug using water.
According to the father of two, “The Venezuelan who gave me the drug told me that it will be difficult for machine to detect liquid cocaine that is ingested. I ingested 70 wraps of the drug, weighing 2 kg, using water because I was desperate. It is not that drug trafficking is a good thing but I wanted to solve my personal problem. They promised to pay me the sum of 6,000 dollars.” Reacting to the latest challenge to the anti-drug campaign, Giade who maintained that the efforts would continually be made to rid Nigerian of drug couriers and their sponsors, said: “The agency will continue to press for strict punishment for drug traffickers. The risk they take is equally a concern to us. Anti-drug enlightenment programmes will be tailored towards exposing the inherent risk in drug trafficking.”
Mitchell Ofoyeju, spokesman for the NDLEA told Saturday Mirror that the two suspects would soon be charged to court.