The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has seized 364 wraps of high- grade Brazilian cocaine, weighing 6.490kg and valued at N72m.
The NDLEA Head of Public Affairs, Mr. Mitchell Ofoyeju, said on Monday that the seizure was made at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
He added that a 32-year-old suspect, Francis Bawaba, was arrested in connection with the discovery which was made during the inward screening of passengers on an Etihad flight.
The wraps of cocaine were said to have been prepared for ingestion and hidden inside Bawaba’s hand luggage.
NDLEA Lagos Airport Commander, Mr. Hamza Umar, also confirmed the arrest.
He said, “Our investigation has revealed that the suspect took off from Malpensa, Milan. Bawaba picked up the drug while on transit at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
“He has given us very useful information that we are already working on.”
Lamenting the hardship his arrest would portend for his pregnant wife and children, Bawaba said, “This is my first time of smuggling drugs. I was lured with an offer of N3.3m.
“I formerly worked in construction sites in Madrid where I was based; that was how I earned a living.
“Since the global economic meltdown, it has been difficult securing a job. I collected the drug while at Abu Dhabi on my way from Milan. It never occurred to me that I could be caught in Nigeria.”
Bawaba said he had planned to invest N3.3m which had been promised him as payment, in business.
The father of two added, “I have been unable to eat since my arrest because I don’t know how my pregnant wife and kids will cope without my financial support.”
The Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Mr. Ahmadu Giade, said the agency would continue to seek the maximum penalty for drug-trafficking offences.
He said, “The essence of punishment is to correct the offender and deter people from indulging in a crime.
“Drug trafficking demands stiffer punishment to serve as a deterrent because of the high profit it generates.”
Posted by Salmon Abiodun