The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has recovered two suitcases of cocaine at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. The narcotic, weighing 21.9 kilogrammes, was the largest single seizure made by the Airport Command of the NDLEA.
This was disclosed in a statement on Monday by the Principal Staff Officer, Public Affairs, NDLEA, Jonah Achema. Achema, a Deputy Commander of Narcotics, said the two unaccompanied and unclaimed suitcases were discovered after the arrival of Ethiopian Airline ET 910 in Abuja from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Name tags attached to the bags indicated that they belonged to one Akomaye Ife and Nze Lusaka U. The statement said during the inward clearance of the flight, the vigilant officers of the command became suspicious upon noticing that the two briefcases were abandoned on the conveyor belt without any of the passengers claiming them.
It stated, “The NDLEA commander directed the officers to keep an eye on the suitcases and informed the airline and its handlers of NDLEA’s interest in the luggage. After a few days of no one claiming the luggage, the commander formally contacted the station manager of Ethiopian Airline and NAHCO Aviance, being the handler for the airline, indicating the suspicion of the agency of the suitcases and placed a standing order that NDLEA should be invited before the luggage would be released to the owner or in the event that the luggage would be returned to the point of embarkation.
“After many weeks of no claim by the owners, the commander informed the airline on the need for search to be conducted on the unclaimed suitcases. The airline officials, including the baggage handler along with the Department of State Services, Aviation Security and Nigeria Customs Service, were invited to the NDLEA office where the search was conducted.”
According to the agency, the first suitcase was searched and found with three blankets out of which two contained parcels of transparent nylon which housed whitish substances suspected to be hard drugs. Field tests proved positive for cocaine and weighed 10.750kg.
The box had a baggage tag with the name Akamonye Ife. The second suitcase reportedly contained 22 packs of shirts with one parcel of drugs concealed in each of the shirts and covered with a blue carbon paper containing a transparent nylon.
The substance was also field tested and returned positive for cocaine and weighed 11.150kg. The second suitcase had a baggage tag with the name Nze Lusaka U. The drug seized made a total of 21.9kg. According to the NDLEA Airport Commander, Kabir Tsakuwa, investigation is ongoing and the command is currently liaising with the Ethiopian Airline to get more information in order to unravel the identity of the couriers,” the statement explained.