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Two drug kingpins bag life imprisonment for cocaine trafficking

Two notorious drug kingpins, Uwaezuoke Ikenna Christian and Agbo Chidike Prince, have been sentenced to life imprisonment for exporting cocaine across continents.

 

This followed their arrest and diligent prosecution by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

For 43-year-old businessman Uwaezuoke, his journey to a lifetime in jail began when he was first arrested by NDLEA operatives on March 19, 2022, at the Abuja International Airport during the inward clearance of an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, after he was found to have ingested 100 big wraps of cocaine weighing 2.243 kilogrammes.

He was subsequently arraigned at the Federal High Court, Abuja Division, in charge number FHC/ABJ/CR/438/2022 and was granted bail on certain conditions after he pleaded not guilty.

He thereafter absconded, leading the court to revoke his bail and issue an arrest warrant against him.

In a curious twist, an NDLEA statement on Sunday said Uwaezuoke was again arrested on August 1, 2023, at the Lagos International Airport while attempting to export 1.822 kilogrammes of cocaine to India through ingestion using a different passport and under a different name, Ilonzeh Kingsley Onyebuchi.

He was again arraigned before Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court, Lagos Division, in charge number FHC/L/554C/2023, where he pleaded guilty to the two counts charge and was convicted and sentenced on October 18, 2023, to a total term of seven years of imprisonment or a fine of ₦1,500,000.00. He paid the fine and was transferred to Abuja to face the importation case pending against him.

Uwaezuoke was re-arraigned on March 20, 2024, at the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court in charge number FHC/ABJ/CR/438/2022 before Justice Joyce Obehi Abdulmalik, where he pleaded guilty again.

Despite his plea, the court, noting his lack of remorse, the seriousness of drug-related offences, and the fact that he is a repeat offender, convicted and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

In the case of 42-year-old Agbo Chidike Prince, the NDLEA spokesman, Mr Femi Babafemi, said he was arrested at the Abuja International Airport during the outward clearance of an Ethiopian Airlines flight to Hong Kong on October 21, 2023, for ingesting 49 wraps of cocaine weighing 998.73 grammes.

Upon his arraignment before Justice Joyce Obehi Abdulmalik of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division, the defendant pleaded guilty to the one-count charge, prompting the prosecution to present evidence and review the facts of the case.

Despite the plea of allocutus by the defendant’s counsel, the court, noting the nature of the case and the commercial quantity of the drug, emphasised the seriousness of drug-related offences and convicted and sentenced the defendant on April 15, 2024, to life imprisonment.

Meanwhile, NDLEA officers at the gate C departure hall of the Lagos airport on April 26th arrested a passenger, Yahaya Danjuma Oturah, while attempting to export 4,000 pills of tramadol 225mg to Malpensa, Italy, on an Ethiopian Airline flight.

The psychoactive substance was found concealed in women’s wear, granulated melon packed in the suspect’s backpack, and another bag containing food items.

In his statement, Oturah who is a frequent flyer, confessed that he was hired to courier the drug for 700 Euros on successful delivery of the consignment in Italy.

In Bayelsa, NDLEA operatives arrested 28-year-old Jennifer Iliya on April 24 in the Amarata area of Yenagoa for producing and distributing cakes laced with illicit drugs, especially cannabis sativa.

At the time of her arrest, a substantial number of the drugged cakes, weighing 1.5 kg, were recovered from her.

A 20-year-old hair stylist, Josephine Odunu, and a dispatch rider, Edesemi Ikporo, were arrested on March 10 by NDLEA operatives in Yenagoa for a similar offence.

The statement said two suspects, Joseph Dadik and Bensha Yari, were arrested with 24,180 ampoules of pentazocine injection weighing 135.5 kilogrammes at Sabon Tasha, Kaduna, while Adamu Umar was nabbed with 20.700kg cannabis when his house in Shuware area of Mubi, Adamawa State, was raided on April 26th.

No less than 310.7kg of cannabis was recovered on Thursday when NDLEA operatives raided parts of Mushin in Lagos State.

While 300kg were seized at Olatunji Street, Mushin, 10.7kg of the same substance were retrieved from two suspects, Tijani Wasiu and Suleiman Aishaat Anifowose, Mushin.

While Stanley Chukwudi was arrested with 5,900 ampoules of pentazocine injection at Sabon Gari area of Kano State on Thursday, a couple, Fredrick Odion and Gladys Odion, were nabbed with 50kg cannabis at Iruekpen, Esan west LGA, Edo State, by NDLEA officers on Wednesday, April 24th.

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