Officers of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have foiled attempts by two grandmothers to unlawfully export narcotic drugs to New York, United States and Medina, Saudi Arabia.
The suspects, Adebayo Ebunoluwa Mercy, 60, was found to have ingested eighty-three wraps of heroin weighing 1.105 kg on her way to the United States, and Amodu Ayisat Grace, 59, who ingested 25 wraps of cocaine weighing 275 grammes on her way to Saudi Arabia.
The suspects allegedly ingested a total of 108 wraps of substances that tested positive for heroin and cocaine during outward screening of passengers at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos.
The grandmothers blamed their involvement in drug trafficking on financial hardship.
NDLEA preliminary investigation revealed that this is the first time a grandmother of 60 years would ingest a whopping 83 wraps of narcotics. In addition, the second suspect was going to Saudi Arabia where drug trafficking attracts capital punishment.
NDLEA said her timely arrest at the Lagos airport by the Nigerian anti-narcotics officers has saved her from the ordeals of painful and ignoble death in a foreign country.
According to NDLEA Commander in charge of Lagos airport, Ahmadu Garba, â€œAdebayo Ebunoluwa Mercy was arrested while boarding a Virgin Atlantic flight to New York while Amodu Ayisat Grace was caught trying to board an Ethiopian airline flight on her way to Medina, Saudi Arabia. The cases are under investigationâ€.
The agency during interrogation quoted Ebunoluwa, who sells provision at Ikorodu, Lagos, as saying that drug trafficking was an afterthought.
â€œI am a divorcee selling provision for survival. Things became rough and tough for me when I lost my capital due to family problems. It has been my dream to travel to the United States in search of greener pastures. My involvement in drug trafficking was an afterthought. My intention when I got my visa last year was to go and work to take care of my needs without being a burden to anyone.
â€œEverything changed suddenly when I met an old friend at a party. They took care of my travel expenses and gave me three thousand dollars with a promise to assist me secure a job in the United States. It was few hours to my journey that they brought the drugs for me to swallow. They said it was my contribution for the kindness and money spent on my trip but it turned out to be my biggest mistakeâ€, she stated. Ebunoluwa hails from Kogi State.
Amodu told investigators that as a Muslim she was glad to travel to Saudi Arabia but her journey terminated at the NDLEA office.
â€œI was happy when they offered to sponsor my trip to Saudi Arabia but I never knew it will end in my detention. I sell fufu (staple food from cassava) to take care of my four children as a widow and this has been very challenging. They enticed me with a visit to Saudi Arabia and a handsome reward and I fell for the trick. I only swallowed 25 wraps of the drug. Unfortunately I could not get to Saudi Arabia because of my arrestâ€, she stated. Amodu was born in Lagos.
In reaction to the arrests, NDLEA Chairman/Chief Executive, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (rtd.) said it is shocking and shameful for grandmothers to be involved in drug trafficking.
â€œThis move by drug cartels to recruit grandmothers as mules is very disturbing, shocking and shameful. The moral emptiness exhibited by the suspects must be condemned by all. A situation where grandmothers have become a bad influence on their children and grandchildren is highly regrettableâ€, Abdallah stated.