Officers of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) say the agency has foiled attempts by two women to unlawfully export narcotic drugs to New York, United States and Medina, Saudi Arabia.
The suspects allegedly ingested 108 wraps of substances that tested positive for heroin and cocaine during the outward screening of passengers at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos.
The suspects blamed their involvement in drug trafficking on financial hardship, the NDLEA said in a statement on Saturday.
The anti-narcotics agency said its preliminary investigation revealed that this was the first time a 60 year old woman would ingest 83 wraps of narcotics.
“In addition, the second suspect was going to Saudi Arabia where drug trafficking attracts capital punishment. Her timely arrest at the Lagos airport by the Nigerian anti-narcotics officers have saved her from the ordeals of painful and ignoble death in a foreign country,” the agency added.
Ahmadu Garba, the NDLEA commander at the Lagos airport, gave the names of the suspected drug traffickers as Adebayo Ebunoluwa Mercy, 60, found to have ingested 83 wraps of heroin weighing 1.105kg on her way to the United States and Amodu Ayisat Grace, 59, that ingested 25 wraps of cocaine weighing 275 grammes on her way to Saudi Arabia.
“Adebayo Ebunoluwa Mercy was arrested while boarding a Virgin Atlantic flight to New York while Amodu Ayisat Grace was caught trying to board an Ethiopian airline flight on her way to Medina, Saudi Arabia. The cases are under investigation,” said Mr. Garba.
One of the suspects, Mrs. Adebayo, who sells provision at Ikorodu, Lagos, said her involvement in drug trafficking was an afterthought.
“I am a divorcee selling provision for survival,” Mrs. Adebayo, who hails from Kogi State, said.
“Things became rough and tough for me when I lost my capital due to family problems. It has been my dream to travel to the United States in search of greener pastures.
“My intention when I got my visa last year was to go and work to take care of my needs without being a burden to anyone. Everything changed suddenly when I met an old friend at a party. They took care of my travel expenses and gave me $3,000 with a promise to assist me secure a job in the United States.
“It was few hours to my journey that they brought the drugs for me to swallow. They said that it was my contribution for the kindness and money spent on my trip but it turned out to be my biggest mistake.”
In her statement to NDLEA investigators, Mrs. Amodu said as a muslim she was glad to travel to Saudi Arabia but her journey terminated at the NDLEA office.
“I was happy when they offered to sponsor my trip to Saudi Arabia but I never knew it will end in my detention,” said the Lagos-born trader.
“I sell fufu (staple food from cassava) to take care of my four children as a widow and this has been very challenging. They enticed me with a visit to Saudi Arabia and a handsome reward and I fell for trick.
“I only swallowed 25 wraps of the drug. Unfortunately I could not get to Saudi Arabia because of my arrest.”
Muhammad Abdallah, the NDLEA Chairman, said it is shocking and shameful for grandmothers to be involved in drug trafficking.
“This move by drug cartels to recruit grandmothers as mules is very disturbing, shocking and shameful,” he said.
“The moral emptiness exhibited by the suspects must be condemned by all. A situation where grandmothers have become a bad influence on their children and grandchildren is highly regrettable.”
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