An attempt by Olawole Akanle, 42, to smuggle 630g of cocaine hidden in six tablets of soap to the United Kingdom was recently aborted by law enforcement agents at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.
Akanle was about to board an Arik Air flight to London when he was apprehended by officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
Another suspect, Nicholas Ezika, who ingested about 62 wraps of methamphetamine weighing 1.130kg, was similarly arrested at the airport. He was en-route to Malaysia via Egypt Airline flight.
The NDLEA commander at the airport, Mr. Hamza Umar, confirmed the arrests. He said, â€œThis is the second time we are detecting drugs concealed in soap this year. Although it was an ingenious plan, we were able to detect it. The suspects are said to have made confessional statements on their involvement, which is helping further investigation.â€
Akanle, who holds Nigerian and British passports, said, â€œI was born in London. I lived in south-east London until 2007 when I came back to Nigeria. I sell laptops, clothes and shoes to earn a living. I was contacted to smuggle the drugs by a friend. He told me that since I have a British passport and had lived there, it will be easy for me to handle. They also told me that the drug was neatly concealed. He promised to pay me Â£3,000 excluding all travel expenses. That was how I got involved.â€
An auto parts dealer at the Onitsha Market in Anambra State, Ezika blamed his predicament on the demolition of his shop. He said, â€œI am an auto parts dealer at Npkor, Onitsha. I was doing fine in business until my shop was demolished. After the demolition, it was difficult to take care of my wife and only child. I had no option of survival than to accept $3,000 to smuggle the drugs. I ingested the drugs at Onitsha and came to Lagos to board my flight to Malaysia. I was ignorant of the fact that drug offenders are liable to death in Malaysia. It was after my arrest that I discovered the risk involved in my action.â€
In his reaction, the Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade, expressed delight over Ezikaâ€™s arrest. He said, â€œI am very happy with the arrests, particularly that of the second suspect, Ezika. It is good that we detected the drug here. Apart from the death penalty he would have faced in Malaysia, we have also protected the image of the country from disrepute. I urge members of the public to join in the fight against drug trafficking and abuse. We have saved many young people from similar premature deaths and we hope to do more to protect lives in the days ahead.â€