No hiding place for drug barons, traffickers – says Marwa

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The Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) retired Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa has said that there was no hiding place for drug barons and their mules in the country.

Marwa said this while reacting to the conviction of a Delhi, Indian-Bound drug trafficker, Charles Ogbonna, who bagged 25 years imprisonment for vomiting and excreting 80 wraps of cocaine.

A statement by the NDLEA , Director Media and Advocacy, Mr Femi Babafemi, on Tuesday in Abuja, said that the judgment was delivered three months after Ogbonna’s arrest.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the convict was arrested by NDLEA operatives at the screening point of Terminal 2 of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, (MMIA) Ikeja Lagos.

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He was arrested on Sunday, March 31, while attempting to board his flight to Delhi, India, via Doha on Qatar Airways, with a Liberian international passport, bearing the name: Carr Bismark.

He was taken for body scan, which tested positive for ingestion of illicit drugs.

Preliminary checks revealed his real identity to be Freeman Ogbonna and he was subsequently placed under observation in NDLEA custody where he started to manifest signs of discomfort.

Obviously choked by the volume of illicit drugs in his stomach and another substance taken to hold back excretion, the suspect soon began to retch before starting to vomit and excrete wraps of cocaine he ingested almost simultaneously.

Ogbonna, who claimed he was recruited into drug trafficking by one of his relatives, eventually passed out a total of 80 wraps of cocaine weighing 889 grammes through his mouth and anus over a period of four days.

The great risk that almost took his life notwithstanding, Ogbonna said he was given the drugs to swallow at a hotel in Ipodo, Lagos.

He said that it came with a promise to reward him with N300,000 cash if he successfully delivered the consignment in India.

The suspect was subsequently arraigned before Justice Dipeolu Deinde of the Federal High Court, Lagos, in charge number FHCL/378/2024 .

Marwa said that the suspect committed the offence contrary to section 20(1)(b) and punishable under section 20(2)(a) of the NDLEA Act Cap N30 LFN 2004.

“Delivering judgment on the case on Monday, July 1, Justice Dipeolu sentenced Ogbonna to 25 years in prison without an option of fine.

“I want to commend the MMIA Command and the prosecution team for a fast and diligent handling of the case, ” he said.

Marwa said the judiciary remained a strong pillar in the coordinated and concerted effort to curb the scourge of substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in Nigeria.

“Ogbonna’s conviction will further send a strong signal to his ilks that there will be no hiding place for drug barons and their mules,” he said. (NAN)

By Ibironke Ariyo

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