Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency have arrested the General Overseer of Christ Living Hope Church, Rev. Ugochukwu Ekwem, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos State.
A statement on Sunday by the spokesperson for the NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, said the suspect was apprehended on his way to a three-week crusade in Nairobi, Kenya, with 54 sticks of drugs wrapped around his body.
He said, “The youthful and popular preacher, who has his church headquarters in Isu Aniocha, Mgbakwu Road, Awka, Awka North LGA, Anambra State, and two other branches in Lagos and Abuja, was arrested on Monday, March 7, during the outward clearance of passengers on an Ethiopian airline flight to Nairobi via Addis Ababa.
“When tested, the 54 sticks proved positive for cannabis. The cleric confessed during a preliminary interview that he packed that quantity of illicit substance on his body to use during his three-week crusade in Kenya.”
On the same day, another passenger, Nnakeanyi King, who arrived at the airport on an Ethiopian airline flight from Sao Paulo, Brazil, via Addis Ababa, was intercepted during the inward clearance of passengers at the E-Arrival Hall of the MMIA.
During a search of his luggage, 40 parcels of cocaine concealed inside bottles of body cream with a gross weight of 9.70 kilogrammes were allegedly recovered by the NDLEA.
Babafemi said, “Three days later, Wednesday, March 9, another passenger on an Ethiopian airline flight to Italy, Edo Blessing, was intercepted at the Departure Hall of the airport with 2,090 tablets of tramadol 225mg and flunitrazepam.
“The suspect, who hails from Edo State, but lives in Italy, claimed ownership of the recovered psychotropic substances. Also, on the same day, operatives arrested a freight agent, Rafiu Abbas, at the NAHCO Export Shed of the airport when he presented a cargo containing 19.15kg cannabis going to London.
“The illicit substance was concealed inside plastic containers labelled as ‘African Dishes’ and packed in a bag.”
Meanwhile, a 63-year-old man, Vincent Obimma, was on Friday, March 11, arrested with 350grams of cocaine and 150g of heroin by NDLEA operatives at a park in the Apapa seaport corridor in Lagos.
The drugs were reportedly hidden in industrial torch packets heading for Kano State.
The Chairman and Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Marwa (retd.), charged personnel of the agency to stay focussed and intensify efforts to rid Nigeria of illicit drugs and substances.