Men of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have arrested a pastor, Rev. Ugochukwu Emmanuel Ekwem, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos, allegedly with 54 sticks of Cannabis wrapped around his body on his way to Nairobi Kenya for a three-week crusade.
NDLEA spokesman Femi Babafemi said in a press statement that the General Overseer of Christ Living Hope Church confessed during a preliminary interview that he wanted to use the illicit substance during the crusade.
Babafemi said the youthful and popular preacher who has his church headquarters in Isuaniocha, Mgbakwu Road, Awka, Awka North council of Anambra State with two branches in Lagos and Abuja, was arrested on Monday March 7, during the outward clearance of passengers on Ethiopian Airlines flight to Nairobi via Addis Ababa.
The statement reads:
“On the same day, another passenger, Nnakeanyi Chukwuka King, who arrived at the airport on 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. During a search of his luggage, 40 parcels of cocaine concealed inside bottles of body cream with a gross weight of 9.70kg were recovered from the suspect.
“Three days later, Wednesday 9th March, another passenger on 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, who hails from Edo State but lives in Italy, claimed ownership of the recovered psychotropic substances.
“Also on the same day, operatives arrested 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.
“In a related development, a 63-year-old Vincent Obimma was on Friday 11th March arrested with 350grams of cocaine and 150grams 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.
“Meanwhile, a drug dealer in Kaduna State, James Okenwa, has been arrested in a follow-up operation at Central Market, Kaduna. He admitted ownership of 1,807 bottles of cough syrup with codeine that were 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 has accepted ownership of all the 1,959 bottles of the codeine syrup.
“In Yobe state, 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 and 1,598 bottles of Codeine Syrup, 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, some 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.