Two suspected drug traffickers have narrated to officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, the reason they abandoned their once thriving businesses for illicit business of cocaine smuggling.
Frank Obiekwe and Jacob Okoye were arrested on their way to Hong Kong by NDLEA officials during an outward screening of passengers at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.
A third suspect, Prince Chukwunyere, was also arrested en route Italy.
The trio allegedly ingested 233 wraps of powdery substances that tested positive to cocaine with a weight of 5.05 kilogrammes.
In a press release on Wednesday, the NDLEA said the suspects had voluntarily recorded their statements with investigators.
Mr. Obiekwe, 47, who allegedly ingested 80 wraps of the powdery substance weighing 1.930kg, was arrested during a screening of passengers on an Emirates airline.
“I lost my father when I was a Merchant of Light Secondary School between 1983 and 1988”, the statement quoted Mr. Obiekwe as saying in his confession.
”I was given admission at Edo State University but dropped out in 300 levels due to lack of sponsorship.
“In 1997, I came to Lagos and started textile business. Later I began to buy my goods from Czech Republic and Hong Kong before my business suffered serious setback”.
In his confession, Mr. Obiekwe, who hails from Anambra State, said that in the course of seeking assistance to revive his business, he ventured into drug trafficking.
“I was given the drug in a restaurant at Onitsha and they promised to pay me 10,000 dollars. It took me eight hours to swallow the drugs but was arrested at the airport”, he said.
Mr. Okoye, who allegedly ingested 70 wraps of cocaine weighing 1.515kg, was nabbed during passengers’ screening on an Etihad flight.
The 43-year old said that he met his sponsor at a wedding ceremony.
“I used to import textiles from Dubai and Hong Kong,” said Mr. Okoye, who stated that he had a Diploma in Computer Science at the Institute of Management Technology, Enugu.
“My business was flourishing and I have traveled to Hong Kong over 15 times. I later had problem that took my capital and I was stranded. That was what led me into drug trafficking”, Mr. Okoye, who also hails from Anambra State, said.
“I was forced to swallow drugs for many hours in order to continue with my textile business. They promised to pay me over a million naira”, he added.
For Mr. Chukwunyere, 39, it was the quest to “settle his bills” that led him into drug trafficking, according to the NDLEA.
The suspect, who hails from Imo State, allegedly swallowed 83 wraps of cocaine weighing 1.605kg and was arrested on a Lufthansa bound flight to Bologna, Italy, via Frankfurt.
“I am a businessman. I supply teaching materials. Armed robbers attacked me and I lost one of my eyes in the process”, said Mr. Chukwunyere, according to the NDLEA.
“As I speak, I owe over 15 million naira. I am unable to pay my rent, my children’s school fees and even feeding.
“I have no rest of mind because my creditors are on my neck daily. This is my first time of trafficking drugs and I was promised 4,000 Euros”.
The NDLEA Chairman, Ahmadu Giade, expressed concern over the way drug traffickers expose themselves to danger by ingesting poisonous drugs.
“It is very worrisome that highly poisonous substances like cocaine, methamphetamine and similar drugs are brazenly ingested by drug suspects”, Mr. Giade said.
“Despite the attendant risk, these suspected drug traffickers could still afford to ingest 233 wraps of narcotics. The agency will continue to sensitize members of the public on the priceless benefits of a drug-free society”.