A pastor with the Gospel Faith International Mission, Lagos, has been arrested by officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, for smuggling 1.978 kilogrammes of heroin concealed in a false bottom of his luggage.
Daniel Akintola, 43, was caught at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, on an inward flight from Entebbe, Uganda.
In a statement Wednesday, the NDLEA said Mr. Akintola, who claimed to be returning from a Pastors’ Conference in Uganda, wanted to abandon his luggage at the arrival hall for fear of arrest.
“He wanted to abandon the luggage but we detected his intention,” said Nsikak-Abasi Udoh, NDLEA Commander at Enugu airport.
Mr. Akintola’s arrest came few weeks after the NDLEA arrested a Lagos-based pastor at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, for smuggling narcotics to South Africa.
“I am a pastor with Gospel Faith Mission International, Olayemi Assembly, Ipaja, Lagos,” Mr. Akintola told investigators according to the NDLEA.
“I attended a minister’s conference in Uganda. This bag where heroin was found is my bag but I am a pastor and not a drug trafficker,” said the pastor, who hails from Oyo State.
But the NDLEA said Mr. Akintola could not produce any evidence that he attended a minister’s conference in Uganda.
“Besides, he also did not give any reason for leaving Entebbe, Uganda en-route Addis Ababa to Enugu,” the agency said.
Another suspect, Tochukwu Onwuegbusi, was arrested at the airport by the anti-narcotics agency for concealing 51.5kg of ephedrine inside his luggage en-route Maputo, Mozambique.
According to the agency, the suspect said he was asked to take the bag of ephedrine to Mozambique for a fee of $2,500.
“I am a business man but after Customs seized my goods I became stranded,” Mr. Onwuegbusi told investigators.
“They paid my return ticket and promised that the person that will receive the bag in Maputo will give me $2,500. I would have invested the money in import business,” said the suspect who hails Anambra State.
Ahmadu Giade, NDLEA Chairman, said that there would be no hiding place for drug traffickers.
“Drug traffickers have no place to hide. Unless they quit their criminal act, the law will take its course,” Mr. Giade said.
“Let me appeal to members of the public to report drug dealers to the nearest NDLEA office.”
It will be recalled that the resident pastor of the Eternal Sacred Order of Cherubim and Seraphim at Agodo-Egbe, Ikotun, Lagos, was recently arrested over unlawful exportation of 174kg of narcotics to South Africa.
The suspect, Michael Raji, was arrested following the interception of the drug at the cargo section of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport during pre-shipment examination.