A 55-year-old female pilgrim to Saudi Arabia to perform this year’s hajj pilgrimage, Basira Iyabo Binuyo from Kwara State, has tested positive to narcotic ingestion at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The Eagle Online reports that Binuyo was immediately placed under observation by officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency. The suspect has so far excreted 76 pellets of substances found to be cocaine.
At the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, officials also intercepted a 37-year-old father of three children for inserting seven wraps of cocaine weighing 355 grammes inside his anus.
Both suspects were going to Saudi and China where drug trafficking is punishable by death.
The Commander of the NDLEA at the Abuja Airport, Hamisu Lawan, said the female suspect is still under observation until she expels all the ingested pellets of drugs.
Lawan said: “Mrs. Binuyo was arrested during the outward screening of passengers on an Emirate flight to Medina through Dubai.
“She has so far excreted 76 pellets of drugs that tested positive for cocaine. Meanwhile, she is still under observation until the drugs are completely expelled”.
Binuyo hails from Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara State. She is married with three children and is a trader at Dosumu Market in Lagos State.
In her statement, she agreed to smuggling the drugs for a fee. She said: “I am a trader in Lagos, married with three children. I wanted to expand my cosmetic business but I have no money. My sponsor offered to foot my expenses to Saudi on pilgrimage.
“I was excited until I was asked to take drugs along.
“I wanted to decline but considering the offer of N1 million, I accepted.
“I swallowed the drugs in Lagos and took flight to Abuja on my way to Medina but I was caught in the process.”
The other suspect was found to have inserted seven wraps of cocaine weighing 355 grammes inside his anus at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos.
He was apprehended during outward screening of passengers on an Ethiopian Airline flight to Hong Kong, China through Addis Ababa.
The Commander of the NDLEA at the airport, Ahmadu Garba, said the suspect, who hails from Imo State, holds a dual citizenship of Nigeria and Mali.
Garba said: “An arrest has been made of a suspect travelling to Hong Kong, China.
“He hails from Imo State but was travelling with a Malian international passport.
“The name on his passport is Diara Sauduo, while his Nigerian name is Okpalanem Henry.
“The case is under investigation.”
The suspect who expelled seven wraps of cocaine on his way to China where drug trafficking is punishable by death did not show any form of remorse.
In his words: “I know that there is capital punishment for drug trafficking in China but I was optimistic of safe passage.
“Unfortunately, I was caught with only seven wraps.
“Maybe that is my destiny.
“I am married with three children.”
The Chairman/Chief Executive of the Agency, Colonel Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (rtd), expressed satisfaction with the arrests, stating that it is a product of diligence and vigilance.
Abdallah said: “The arrest of the suspects is commendable.
“We will continue to be on the alert in protecting all exit and entry points from drug trafficking organisations.
“I am glad that the suspects were arrested here, thus preventing them from untimely death and also protecting the image of our country from disrepute.”
The NDLEA boss urged members of the public to join in the anti-narcotics campaign and avoid drug trafficking and other activities capable of undermining their good name and strong moral principles.
Abdallah promised that investigation was ongoing in the reported arrest of the Kwara State pilgrims in Medina by Saudi authorities.
Three pilgrims from Kwara State were caught on their arrival in Madinnah. Hajia Fatima Abolore-Jimoh, the Executive Secretary of the Kwara State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, confirmed the arrest.