Officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, have arrested a 45-year-old Nigerian barber living in South Africa for trafficking 6.100kg substance suspected to be cocaine.
It was learnt that the drug has an estimated street value of N50 million.
The suspect, Ozoh Hycenth Chukwuemeka who hails from Anambra state, was arrested during the outward clearance of Arik Air passengers to South Africa.
The NDLEA Airport Commander, Hamza Umar, said that the discovery was made at the baggage checking desk at the departure hall.
Umar said, “The drug which was neatly hidden in a false compartment of Ozoh’s luggage was discovered during routine check on passengers.”
Astonishingly, Ozoh, a father of one, who has lived in South Africa for 10 years, maintained his innocence. He revealed that the bag was given to him by a friend who made him believe that “the bag contained just chemicals”.
“A friend of mine in South Africa requested that I bring a bag containing chemicals from Nigeria to South Africa for $3,000. I asked him if it was drug but he said it was just chemicals. He paid for my return ticket.
“I am only struggling to take care of myself with my barbing business. If I had known that things will turn out this way I would have rejected the proposal” he said.
But his explanation didn’t move the NDLEA Chairman, Ahmadu Giade. According to Giade, Ozoh’s explanation was unacceptable.
“At 45 years, he should have known better. In any case, ignorance is not an excuse and he will soon be arraigned under the NDLEA Act as soon as investigation is concluded,” he added.