A 33-year-old Nigerian-Brazilian hairstylist, Jennifer Onyejegbu, was allegedly apprehended by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos State, with about 26.850kg of cocaine believed to value more than N20 billion and said to be the largest seizure in Nigeria since 15 years ago.
According to an official of NDLEA:
“On January 27, 2021, at about 1320hours, during the inward clearance of Ethiopian Airline passengers at the E- arrival hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, a female passenger, Onyejegbu Ifesinachi Jennifer, 33, who arrived in Nigeria from Sao Paulo, Brazil via Addis Ababa, was intercepted by NDLEA operatives.
“As a standard operating procedure, all passengers to and from high risk countries are always profiled, using passengers’ manifest. It happened that the above-named suspect was targeted. Consequently, she was taken to NDLEA office at the airport, where her bags were searched thoroughly, and in the process, whitish powdery substances were found concealed inside 16 pieces of duvet contained in her two travel bags.
“Field test was conducted on the recovered substances and proved to be cocaine and weighed 26.850kg. The suspect, who is a hairstylist and based in Brazil, was interviewed and she confessed to having agreed to smuggle the hard drug for the sum of N2 million. Although she refused to disclose the names of her associates, she, however, said she was asked to hand over the drugs to another person. The street value of this singular seizure is put at over N21billion.
“While this was going on, the NDLEA Commander at the MMIA, Ahmadu Garba, received an intelligence report of a purported plan to clear a consignment containing hard drugs through the Lagos airport.
“Coincidentally, the details sent matched the bag earlier detained by the operatives at the Lagos airport. In a coordinated operation, on January 27, 2021, an NDLEA undercover agent was contacted by one Abubakar Aliyu.
“Guided by the operation and investigation unit, the undercover agent successfully lured the said Abubakar Aliyu into the cargo terminal of the airport where he was arrested. The suspect revealed to NDLEA operatives that another person was on his way to receive the bag based on the instruction of his sender whom he gave his name as Ikechukwu Eze.”
“Emmanuel confessed that he was instructed by one Ikechukwu to receive the consignment. Emmanuel was again set up to lure in Ikechukwu Eze but rather than showing up to get the consignment from Emmanuel, he sent another person who said he was mandated to receive the consignment from him, and they agreed to meet at Ibis Royal Hotel, a few miles away from the airport,” NDLEA said.
“A follow-up operation was quickly organised to the hotel, where one Onwurah Kelvin was arrested and brought to the office.
“The suspect confessed during an interview that he was sent by one Ikechukwu to receive the consignment. Thereafter, the detained bag was opened in the presence of the three suspects, and whitish powdery substances were discovered neatly concealed and sewn inside five children duvets. Field test carried out on the exhibits proved they are cocaine, weighed to be 8.400 kg, with a street value of over N7b.”