A 55-year-old female passenger’s planned pilgrimage to this year’s hajj came to an abrupt end at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, after she was arrested for alleged narcotic ingestion.
Basira Iyabo Binuyo has already excreted seventy-six (76) pellets of substances found to be cocaine, according to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
NDLEA officials at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Ikeja also intercepted a 37-year-old father-of-three for inserting seven wraps of cocaine weighing 355 grammes in his anus.
He was on his way to China.
Drug trafficking in both Saudi Arabia and China is punishable by death.
NDLEA commander at the Azikiwe Airport Abuja, Hamisu Lawan, said Binuyo is still under observation until she expels all the ingested pellets of drugs.
“Mrs Binuyo was arrested during the outward screening of passengers on an Emirate flight to Medina through Dubai. She has so far excreted seventy-six (76) pellets of drugs that tested positive for cocaine. Meanwhile, she is still under observation until the drugs are completely expelled,” he said.
Mrs Binuyo, from Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara State, is said to be a trader at Dosunmu Market in Lagos. She is married with three children.
She said in her statement to the NDLEA that she “wanted to expand” her cosmetic business but needed money to do so.
“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 a million naira, I accepted.
“I swallowed the drugs in Lagos and took a flight to Abuja on my way to Medina but I was caught in the process,” officials quoted her as saying.
The other suspect was found to have inserted seven wraps of cocaine weighing 355 grammes in his anus at the MMIA. He was apprehended during outward screening of passengers on an Ethiopian Airline flight to Hong Kong, China through Addis Ababa.
NDLEA commander at the airport, Ahmadu Garba said that the suspect, who hails from Imo State, holds a dual citizenship of Nigeria and Mali.
He said, “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, said, “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.”
Chairman/Chief Executive of the Agency, Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah expressed satisfaction with the arrest, stating that it is a product of diligence and vigilance.
“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,” he said.