"Illegal drug carriers should face death penalty on arrest", NDLEA boss insists

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Alhaji

Lagos – A Nigerian ex-convict has excreted 65 wraps of cocaine and heroin he had ingested with the aim of trafficking them to Australia, the anti-drug agency said on Tuesday.

“The drug convict, Dunu Chukwunyere Enoch, was nabbed on February 16 2011 and has been under observation but completely expelled the drugs he swallowed last night,” the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency said.

It said the 39-year-old suspect excreted 65 wraps of substances that tested positive for both cocaine and heroin.

“Six of the wraps tested positive for heroin weighing 130g while 59 wraps were found to be cocaine weighing 900g,” it said.

The agency said Enoch who recently served out a jail term for a previous drug offence was about to board a flight to Sidney through Dubai when he was caught at the Lagos airport.

His arrest brought to seven the number of Nigerian suspected drug traffickers nabbed at the Lagos airport in the past week.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLA), Alhaji Ahmadu Giade has frowned at the increased urge by Nigerians to deal in the illegal trade, advocating that only death penalty would serve as a deterrent.

He has been a keen advocate of such punitive measure for long  and renewed his call following the death of a 50 year old man who died in an hospital shortly after his arrest at a Nigerian  Airport just last week. He had ingested several wraps of hard  drug.

Offiah Gozie Vincent  was arrested at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport when scans revealed that his body contained alien materials. which turned out to be  illegal drugs.

He died following complications which developed having ingested 115 wraps of drugs.

He was nabbed by operatives of the NDLEA at the airport last Sunday.

He was tested positive to drug ingestion with the aid of scanning machines at the central screening section during the outward clearance of passengers on Emirates flight to Korea.

The late suspect excreted 72 wraps of substances that tested positive for methamphetamine weighing 1.115kg.

NDLEA

In a post-mortem examination carried out on the corpse on Friday afternoon in a Lagos hospital, 43 additional wraps that got stuck were recovered from his stomach.

This brought the total wraps ingested to 115.

Preliminary investigation had revealed that the suspect had bought the drugs he ingested with the intention of selling when he gets to Korea unlike others who smuggle hard drugs for huge sums.

Offiah had complained of acute pains and was rushed to the hospital, but unfortunately died from complications arising from the ingested drugs.

In another development,  five Nigerian suspects have been arrested at Lagos airport for ingesting more than six kilogrammes (13.2 pounds) of cocaine which they imported from Brazil or attempted to export to Britain, officials haver said.

Three of the five suspects — aged between 34 and 48 — were arrested last week at the Lagos international airport as they arrived on an Iberia flight from Brazil, a National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) statement said.

Two others — aged 33 and 48 — were arrested as they tried to board Virgin Atlantic and Emirates flights to London also last week, the statement said.

All the five suspects who ingested a total of 6.49 kilogrammes of cocaine will soon be charged, NDLEA said.

More than 400 kilogrammes of cocaine were seized at Lagos’ main Tin Can Island seaport last year, he said

Worried by recent increase in the numbers of people engaging in the trade as the last resort to poverty, NDLEA boss, Giade reiterated his call for stiffer penalty for drug offences. He echoed that  there was need for stiffer penalty to reduce the attraction for the  trade in narcotics

“It is obvious that what is required is longer jail terms. I have always insisted that unless the punishment is commensurate to the high profit, trafficking will attract more people who see it as an escape route from poverty. We need to discourage drug trafficking in strong terms,” Giade stated.

“We need to discourage drug trafficking in strong terms,” the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) chief declared.

Although the law stipulates between 15 and 25 years imprisonment for drug trafficking, judges often use their “discretionary powers” to impose less than three year sentences, NDLEA spokesman Mitchell Ofoyeju told AFP.

“This situation is worrisome to the NDLEA. We need stiffer penalties to serve as a deterrent,” he said.

Hard Drug; Cocaine

NDLEA airport commander Hamza Umar said that the suspect was the first to die from complications arising from methamphetamine ingestion.

“He is … suspected to be a professional courier for ingesting 115 wraps and having 10,000 dollars cash on him,” he said.

Vincent had complained of acute pains before he died, it also said.

The ingested drugs had an estimated value of 20 million naira (130,000 dollars, 95,000 euros), NDLEA officials said.