Despite warnings and reports of people captured with drugs at the airport, Abiodun Israel Banjo, a Nigerian living in Pretoria, South Africa still tried to smuggle parcels of methamphetamine worth N31million through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos before he was arrested by officials of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The 45-year-old was apprehended during the outward screening of passengers on a South African Airline flight to South Africa. The parcels of drug he was caught with weighed 3.435kgs with a street value of thirty-one (31) million naira in Nigeria.
NDLEA commander at the Abuja airport, Ahmadu Garba described how the drugs was discovered. “The drug was detected during routine check on passengers on South Africa Airline flight to South Africa. Two bags belonging to one Abiodun Israel Banjo, 45-year-old were found to contain parcels of methamphetamine. Inside the bags were food ingredients and clothes but underneath was a thin parcel of narcotics carefully concealed. He was immediately arrested and investigation is on-going” Ahmadu stated.
The suspect who works in South Africa said that the bags were given to him by a friend in South Africa.
In his words, “I work in Pretoria. My friend in South Africa called me that his brother will give me two bags containing foodstuff to take to him. He also promised to give me two thousand dollars. I opened the bags and check thoroughly but could not find anything criminal that was how I accepted to take the bags but I was surprised when the drug was detected under the bags. I feel very sad that my friend has implicated me”. The suspect, a graduate of Technical College Ijebu-Ode has been living in South Africa since 2012. He hails from Osun State.
Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah has called on members of the public to be aware of tricks employed by drug trafficking cartels. “Drug traffickers recruit mules by enticing them with money. They are very clever in concealing drugs as drugs have been detected in bags, electronics, foodstuff and clothes among others. We strongly advise that all passengers should endeavour to pack their bags themselves and avoid taking bags for others” Abdallah stated.
The NDLEA boss added that ignorance is no excuse in drug trafficking and the suspect shall be charged for unlawful exportation of narcotics. According to Abdallah, “a person shall be deemed to have exported a narcotic drug or psychotropic substance under this NDLEA Act; if he brings to or deposits the narcotic drug or psychotropic substance concerned at any time at any customs area such as airports, customs port or any other customs point generally”.