A 33-year-old Nigerian travelling to Soekarno–Hatta International Airport Jakarta, Indonesia, with narcotics has been arrested at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.
Lotachukwu Umeme, who was holding a Cote d’ lvoire International passport bearing the name Grou Bi Clauvis, was arrested while attempting to board a Qatar Airways flight to Indonesia.
After he tested positive for narcotic ingestion, 89 wraps of narcotics found to be methamphetamine weighing 1.205 kilogrammes were recovered from him, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency said in a statement on Saturday.
Indonesia imposes capital punishment for drug trafficking.
In January 2015, the Asian country executed two Nigerians – Solomon Okafor (alias Namaona Denils) and Daniels Enemuo (Alias Diarrassoube Mamadou) for drug offences at the Island of Nusakambangu in Cilacap, Central Java Province.
The executions were carried out despite persistent pleas for clemency made by the federal government, including the National Assembly.
In July 2016, three other Nigerians were executed for the same offence.
Ahmadu Garba, the NDLEA commander at the Lagos airport, said preliminary investigation conducted by the agency revealed that the suspect hails from Anambra State with the name Umeme Lotachukwu Fabian.
“He attended Boys Secondary School Onitsha where he graduated in 2007. After his secondary education, he started selling clothes at Onitsha main market before he travelled to India in search of greener pastures in 2013 and returned to the country in 2015. He also had an identity card claiming he is from Abidjan,” Mr. Garba said.
Mr. Umeme, while under observation at the airport, excreted 89 wraps of narcotics that tested positive for methamphetamine weighing 1.205kg.
In his statement, according to the NDLEA, the suspect said he was offered the sum of $5,000 to smuggle drugs to Indonesia.
“I am the only son of my parents. I wanted to invest the money in my clothes business and also commence preparation for my marriage in a bid to settle down,” Mr. Umeme said.
He also said he was not aware that drug trafficking attracts capital punishment in Indonesia.
Muhammad Abdallah, the NDLEA Chairman, while expressing satisfaction with the arrest, promised to investigate the identity falsification by the suspect.
“This is a very dangerous development as the suspect could have been consigned to the gallows under a false identity,” he said.
Mr. Abdallah warned that those contemplating drug trafficking must endeavour to avoid acts of criminality and have respect for the sanctity of their lives.
“Drug cartels can be very daring in their manipulation but we are poised to counter their devices. The agency shall carry out a comprehensive investigation into this case in collaboration with relevant stakeholders,” Mr. Abdallah said.
The NDLEA said the suspect would be charged to court soon.
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