The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) said it has stopped 20 people from smuggling drugs out of Nigeria.
The agency, in a statement on Thursday, said since January 2014, 19 Nigerians and a Ghanaian have been arrested in Nigerian airports attempting to smuggle 106,914 kilogrammes of narcotics.
“Sixteen of the suspects were apprehended at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos while four others including a Ghanaian were caught at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu,” reports quote NDLEA Chairman, Ahmadu Giade to have said.
“Their final destinations are Malaysia, China and Thailand where drug trafficking is punishable by death.”
Three Nigerians — Sylvester Obiekwe Nwolise, Raheem Agbaje Salami and Okwudili Oyatanze — were among eight people executed by Indonesian authorities over drug-related offences during the week.
Giade, while commiserating with their families, urged relevant authorities to intensify anti-drug abuse campaign efforts.
“I sincerely sympathise with the families of the executed drug convicts.
“This is a moment of sober reflection on the illicit activities of drug trafficking syndicates. This brings to the fore the bigger picture of those in foreign prisons, those arrested here and others preparing to smuggle drugs.
“It is a wake-up call for stakeholders to step up their counter-narcotics efforts. Apart from drug trafficking being a criminal act, narcotic smuggling poses a serious threat to public health and safety.”
A breakdown of the drugs nabbed from the 20 suspected smugglers showed that 83.08kg was seized at the Lagos airport while 23.834kg was intercepted at the Enugu airport. The seized drugs included 89.024kg of cannabis, 9.375kg of methamphetamine, 3.450kg of amphetamine, 2.89kg of heroin and 2.175kg of cocaine.
The only Ghanaian among the suspects, Musa Idrisa, also known as Charles Udenehi, was going to Bangkok, Thailand, with 450 grams of cocaine he had ingested.
Among those arrested were three females, including Chidinma Okafor, a professional dancer, caught with 3.450kg of amphetamine hidden in a pair of jeans trousers while attempting to board a flight to Malaysia; Eze Maureen caught with 6.200kg of cannabis on her way to China; and Alade Muyinotu found with 1.725kg of cocaine and 1.715kg of heroin on her way to China.
Despite knowing the penalty for being caught with hard drugs in Asia, some Nigerians still smuggle drugs to the continent.
According to Harm Reduction International (HRI), a drug-focused NGO, 32 countries impose the death penalty for drug smuggling. All, except America, Cuba, Sudan and South Sudan are in Asia or the Middle East. However, executions are extremely rare in most of these countries. Fourteen, including Cuba and America have the death penalty in their laws for drug traffickers but do not apply it. HRI’s most recent analysis show that only in six countries — China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore — are drug offenders known to be routinely executed. Indonesia may be added in the next analysis following recent drug-related executions in the country.