The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has seized 12.05kg of cocaine at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
NDLEA Head of Public Affairs, Jonah Achema, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Thursday.
Achema said that the agency made the seizure after it intercepted a 38-year-old man, Okorie Cyprian Raymond, a suspected drug trafficker who attempted to smuggle the drug into the country.
According to him, operatives of the agency at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) Special Area Command intercepted the suspect.
Achema explained that the suspect was intercepted during an inward clearance of Ethiopian Airline flight 911 from Sao Paulo, Brazil en-route Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
He further explained that the drug was carefully packed in drink sachets of pineapple and lemon flavour and concealed in a suitcase.
“The suspect had already claimed his luggage upon arrival and proceeded to NDLEA screening point where it was detected that one of his bags was stuffed with prohibited drugs suspected to be cocaine.
“He claimed that the consignment was given to him to deliver in Nigeria by one Uche whom he met in a Church in Brazil about three months ago through a friend.
“The suspect said Uche overheard him talking to his friend about his impending trip to Nigeria and claimed he actually did not have knowledge of what was in the bag.
“He claimed that Uche brought the suitcase to him at the airport just an hour before the flight took-off and said that the short interval did not give him the opportunity to scrutinise the bag,’’ Achema said.
Cyprian had been a resident of Sao Paulo since 2015 where he worked as a technician in a brass installation centre, he added.
“I had to leave my bicycle spare-parts business in Nigeria for greener pasture in the U.S but opted to travel through Brazil, Mexico to America.
“My journey was aborted in Mexico from where I was returned to Brazil where I was granted asylum,’’ Achema quoted the suspect as saying during interrogation.
Kabir Taskuwa, the commander NDLEA NAIA, said that the 12.05kg of cocaine was one of the highest quantity seized in recent times.
“We promised that all travellers who got involved in drug trafficking will not escape our dragnet and we will continue to sustain our vigilance,’’ Tsakuwa said.