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Wednesday, 13 January 2016
Photos: Ojukwu's Niece, 4 others arrested for drug trafficking
Ijeoma Ojukwu, niece to late politician, Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu, among others were arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on Tuesday.
They were nabbed over the importation of 2.24 kilogrammes of cocaine from Brazil.
The spokesman for NDLEA, Ofoyeju Mitchell released a statement to this effect, saying: “The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) is currently interrogating one of its operatives over alleged conspiracy to import cocaine from Brazil. The investigation which commenced after an abandoned luggage from Brazil was found to contain 2.24kg of cocaine at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos had already led to the arrest of five suspects.”
Among the list of suspects are Ali Bala Adamu, a staff of the NDLEA, Ijeoma Ojukwu, a niece to late politician, Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu and three others Victor Umeh, Uche Igwelo and Egbuche Fidelis Osiita.
This would be NDLEA first drug seizure this year, according to the commander at the Lagos airport, Mr. Ahmadu Garba.
“This is the first drug seizure for the year. On December 28, 2015, a bag with a tag bearing Agina Fidelis Ejike was abandoned at the arrival hall during inward screening of passengers on an Emirates flight. On January 1, 2016, one Egbuche Fidelis Osita came with authority letter mandating him to collect the bag. In the process, some white powdery substance weighing 2.24kg that tested positive for cocaine was discovered. The drug was neatly packed in four parcels concealed in false bottom of four female handbags. Further investigation led to more arrests.”
Garba said that the agency’s investigation revealed that 48-year-old Ojukwu is a member of an international drug trafficking organization and owns a restaurant in Brazil.
“She allegedly conspired with other suspects to collect the abandoned bag from the airport with the intent to recover the 2.24kg of cocaine. She was said to have contacted a staff of the NDLEA, Ali Bala on how to facilitate the collection of the bag at the airport. The Agency also impounded the Acura MDX vehicle that the suspects drove to the airport” he added.
Starting with Ijeoma, the suspects in confessional statements, claimed that they are innocent.
“I have a restaurant in Brazil where I sell African food. I am from Anambra State and I am married with three children. My brother came from Brazil and could not find his bag. It was in the process of trying to get the bag out that we were arrested.”
36-year-old Uche Igwelo, a graduate of Public Administration, said she was invited by Ijeoma to assist in collecting the bag.
“I sell kitchen utensil and I am married with a child. Ijeoma met me that I should help her to collect a bag at the airport. We were trying to get the bag when NDLEA officers arrested us” Mrs. Igwelo said.
Egbuche Fidelis Osita, a 37-year-old student said all he was asked to do was pick up the bag at the Lagos airport.
“I am a 400 level student studying English Education at the Ekiti State University. My friend Victor Umeh was the person that asked me to help in claiming a luggage at the airport. We all drove to the airport where I was given a letter of authority and other documents of the passenger that came with the luggage. In the process of trying to collect the bag I was arrested. This is all I know about this incident,” he stated.
Chairman of the NDLEA, Roli Bode-George spoke on the arrest saying: “The NDLEA is following every lead professionally and will exploit more opportunities towards getting every culprit arrested. We have also expanded the scope of our investigation and everyone involved in this illegal importation of narcotics shall be diligently prosecuted. The Agency will continue to uphold the rule of law and dislodge drug trafficking organisations in the country.”
“NDLEA will not compromise its high standard of operation. We are working very hard with international and local collaborators in projecting the image of Nigeria in drug control programmes.
Any attempt by any person or group of persons to sabotage this great achievement shall be resisted. Probity and strict law enforcement shall be sustained.”