NDLEA’s busts church pastor with cannabis in continuing war on illicit drugs peddling

By Nnamdi Okosieme


A popular church General Overseer based in Awka, Anambra State, has been arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

Reverend Ugochukwu Emmanuel Ekwem, who pastors the Living Hope Church, was arrested at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on his way to Kenya for a three-week crusade.

The pastor who was picked up on Monday March 7, during the outward clearance of passengers on Ethiopian Airlines flight to Nairobi via Addis Ababa, had 54 sticks of drugs wrapped around his body. The sticks upon testing, proved to be cannabis, which the clergyman said he was going to use for the crusade in Kenya.

On the same day, another passenger, Nnakeanyi Chukwuka King who arrived the airport aboard Ethiopian Airlines flight from Sao Paulo, Brazil via Addis Ababa,was intercepted during the inward clearance of passengers at the E-Arrival Hall of the MMIA.

A search of his luggage revealed the concealment of forty parcels of cocaine inside bottles of body cream with a gross weight of 9.70kg.

NDLEA operatives recorded another breakthrough two days later on Wednesday March 9 when another passenger on an Ethiopian Airlines flight to Italy, Mr. Edo Blessing was intercepted at the Departure Hall of the airport with 2, 090 tablets of Tramadol 225mg and Flunitrazepam. The suspect, an indigene of Edo state but resides in Italy, claimed ownership of the recovered psychotropic substances.

On the same day Blessing was arrested, NDLEA officers busted a freight agent, Rafiu Abbas at the NAHCO Export Shed of the airport when he presented a cargo containing 19.15kg cannabis going to London. The illicit substance was concealed inside plastic containers labelled as “African Dishes” and packed in a bag.

The NDLEA’s ramping up of the offensive on drug kingpins and smugglers, which has been boosted with the training of 650 special forces operatives by the Nigerian Army School of Infantry, is hauling in drugs criminals on a daily basis.

On March 11, 63-year-old Vincent Obimma was arrested with 350 grammes of cocaine and 150grammes of heroin by NDLEA operatives at a park in the Apapa seaport corridor in Lagos. The drugs were hidden in industrial torch packets heading to Kano, Kano state.

Similar operations in Kaduna, Yobe and Anambra States, yielded positive results.

In Kaduna, James Okenwa picked up at the Central Market and admitted ownership  arrested of 1,807 bottles of cough syrup with codeine earlier recovered from two suspects at tollgate. At the point of his arrest, another 152 bottles of the drug were recovered from his vehicle. He accepted ownership of all the 1,959 bottles of the codeine syrup.

In Yobe, two fake security agents: Akalonu Justin and Azimbi Festus who were coming from Onitsha and heading to Maiduguri, Borno State have been arrested with 25 blocks of Cannabis Sativa weighing 12 .5kg and 1, 598 bottles of Codeine Syrup weighing 159.8 Litres, while 85kg of cannabis was also recovered from the warehouse of a notorious drug dealer in Pawari area of Damaturu, the state capital on Thursday 10th March.

In Anambra State, a total of 38,605 tablets of assorted opioids were recovered from a 29-year-old drug dealer, Awoke Friday at Nkwelle junction, Onitsha on Friday 11th March with the support of men of the Nigeria Police.

NDLEA Chairman/Chief Executive, Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa, who commended the agency’s operatives for their impressive work in the last one week, urged them to stay focused and intensify efforts to rid Nigeria of illicit drugs and substances.






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