The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested the General Overseer, Christ Living Hope Church, Reverend Ugochukwu Ekwem at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos for alleged drug trafficking.
A statement by the Director, Media and Advocacy, NDLEA, Mr Femi Babafemi, on Sunday in Abuja said that the suspect was arrested on his way to a three-week crusade in Nairobi, Kenya, with 54 sticks of drugs wrapped around his body.
He said that the youthful and popular preacher has his church headquarters in Isuaniocha, Mgbakwu road, Awka, Awka North LGA, Anambra state.
Babafemi added that the suspect who also has two other branches in Lagos and Abuja was arrested on March 7.
He said that the arrest was made during the outward clearance of passengers on Ethiopian Airlines flight to Nairobi via Addis Ababa.
According to him, when tested, the 54 sticks proved positive to cannabis.
”The clergyman confessed during preliminary interview that he packed that quantity of illicit substance on his body to use during his three-week crusade in Kenya,” he said.
Babafemi said that the operatives also arrested another passenger, Nnakeanyi Chukwuka, who arrived the airport on Ethiopian Airlines flight from Sao Paulo, Brazil via Addis Ababa.
He said that the suspect was intercepted during the inward clearance of passengers at the E-Arrival Hall of the MMIA.
He added that 40 parcels of Cocaine concealed inside bottles of body cream with a gross weight of 9.70kg were recovered from the suspect during a search of his luggage.
“Three days later, Wednesday March 9, another passenger on Ethiopian Airlines flight to Italy, Mr Edo Blessing, was intercepted.”
According to the NDLEA spokesperson, this arrest was at the Departure Hall of the airport and suspect was found 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, ” he said.
The spokesperson said that operatives also arrested a freight agent, Rafiu Abbas, at the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO), Export Shed of the airport.
This, he said was when the suspect 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,” he said.
Babafemi said the Chairman NDLEA, retired Brig.-Gen. Buba Marwa, commended the officers and men of the MMIA for the impressive seizures and arrests.