NDLEA Arrests Pilgrims With Cocaine

  • Thursday, November 20, 2008 - By Simon Ateba
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Officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, have arrested two pilgrims from Lagos state, with 209 wraps of substances suspected to be cocaine.

The suspects, Mr. Mufutau Alabi Abdul-Hakeem, 31, an automobile technician and a photographer, Mr. Abdul Rahman Alamu Wahab, 35, were picked up on Tuesday night, at the Hajj Camp, Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, during screening of pilgrims on Med-View Airline.

They were on their way to Saudi Arabia for this year’s pilgrimage. The punishment for drug trafficking in Saudi Arabia is death through beheading. A statement by Mr. Ofoyeju Mitchell, NDLEA Head, Public Affairs, this morning, disclosed that as at 6 a m., today, Mufutau had excreted 75 wraps, while Wahab excreted 72 wraps of substances that tested positive for cocaine.

NDLEA disclosed that Mufutau and Abdul Alamu were both from the Lagos Island batch of the intending pilgrims. Mufutau, with hajj passport number 020184, allegedly confessed to have ingested 109 pieces of narcotic drugs for a fee of 4,000 dollars. He is married with a child and has a workshop at Obey Street, Lagos Island.

He also described himself as a Senior Secondary School graduate. He hails from Oguntade village, in Oyo state. The suspect lives at 42, Makanjuola Street, Orile Iganmu.

He said he engaged in drug trafficking because “there is no work. I was the person that went to meet the man that I want to carry drugs because I know him. My priority was to pay for my rent which will expire in December.”

The other suspect , Wahab, with passport number 018971, confessed that he ingested 100 wraps of narcotic drugs. He said he was promised 4,000 dollars by the same sponsor. According to him: “I did it with the hope of praying for forgiveness and to start my personal business. I am very sorry for myself. I do not know what to say”. Wahab lives at 4, Adeniji-Adele Road, Lagos Island. He is from Ibadan, in Oyo state.

Reacting to the arrest, the Chairman/Chief Executive of the agency, Ahmadu Giade, described their involvement as ‘sad and unfortunate’. The NDLEA boss said intelligence officers have been deployed to all screening points to ensure that no one goes to the holy land with illicit drugs.

“The screening exercise is to ensure that drug barons do not smuggle narcotics under the cover of pilgrimage. We have a duty to protect the image of this country. We are adequately prepared to identify any person going to the holy land for selfish and sinister motives,” Giade declared.

He said despite the death penalty for drug offences in Saudi Arabia, the suspects knowingly attempted to traffic drugs to the holy land. According to Giade “this is sacrilegious. It is very clear that they were not going as pilgrims”. He directed that the case be thoroughly investigated.

Preliminary investigations conducted by the agency revealed that the suspects got the drug, which they ingested in the house of Wahab, from one source.

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