Two Drug Kingpins Bag Life Imprisonment For Cocaine Smuggling


By Anne Osemekeh, Abuja

Two drug kingpins have been sentenced to life imprisonment for cocaine smuggling, following their arrest and prosecution by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

A statement on Sunday by the anti-narcotics agency’s spokesman, Mr. Femi Babafemi, says the arrest brings to an end their years of criminal enterprise of smuggling cocaine across continents.

TheFact Daily gathered that one of the convicts, 43-year-old Uwaezuoke Ikenna Christian, was first arrested by NDLEA operatives in March 2022 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, after he was found to have ingested 100 big wraps of cocaine weighing 2,243kg.

He was arraigned at the Federal High Court Abuja Division and was granted 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.

Uwaezuoke was however arrested again, by operatives of the anti-narcotics agency in August 2023, this time, at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, while attempting to export 1,822kg of ingested cocaine to India, using a different passport and under a different name, Ilonzeh Kingsley Onyebuchi.

He was arraigned before Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court, Lagos, where he pleaded guilty to the two-count charge, and was convicted and sentenced to 7 years imprisonment or a fine of N1,500,000. He paid the fine and then was transferred to Abuja to face the importation case pending against him.

On 20th March, Uwaezuoke pleaded guilty before Justice Joyce Obehi Abdulmalik, who, noting his lack of remorse, the seriousness of drug-related offences, and the fact that he is a repeated offender, convicted and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

The second kingpin, 42-year-old Agbo Chidike Prince, was arrested at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, during the outward clearance of Ethiopian Airlines flight to Hong Kong on 21 October 2023. He had ingested 49 wraps of cocaine weighing a total of 998.7kg.

Upon his arraignment before Justice Joyce Obehi Abdulmalik of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division, the defendant pleaded not guilty to the one-count charge. Despite the plea of allocutus by the defendant’s counsel, Agbo was sentenced to life imprisonment on 15 April 2024.

Furthermore, NDLEA officers at the gate ‘C’ departure hall of the Lagos Airport on Friday, 26 April, arrested a passenger, one Yahaya Danjuma Oturah, while attempting to export 4,000 pills of Tramadol 225mg to Malpensa, Italy. The psychoactive substance was found concealed in women wears and granulated melon packed in the suspect’s backpack and another bag containing food items.

In his statement, Oturah, a frequent flyer, confessed he was hired to courier the drug for 700 Euros upon successful deliver of the consignment Itay.

In Bayelsa, NDLEA operatives on Wednesday, 24th April, arrested one Jennifer Iliya at Amarata area of Yenagoa, for producing and distributing cakes laced with illicit drugs, especially cannabis sativa. At the time of her arrest, a substantial quantity of the drug-laced cakes, weighing 1.5kg was recovered from her.

It will be recalled that in March, a 20-year-old hair stylist, Josephine Odunu and a dispatch rider, Edesemi Ikporo, had been arrested for a similar offence.

Babafemi further disclosed that various commands of the agency across the country carried out War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) advocacy campaigns in the past week, some of which include: WADA sensitisation lecture for students and staff of Federal Government College, Nise, Anambra State; Royal Institute of Health Technology, Ifo, Ogun State; Akpugo-Eze High School, Oji-River, Enugu; Modibbo Adama University, Yola, Adamawa State and Jubilee Secondary School, Ore, Ondo State among others.

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