Feb 2, 2012

How pastor’s prayers failed trafficker, who concealed drug in tomato tins

A 26-year-old man, Nzeka Christian, thought he could be smarter than the anti-narcotic agents, working at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.

He also believed he could deceive God and his pastor, when he decided to sleep in the church some days before embarking on travel. He even begged the man of God to pray for his successful business trip to Malaysia.
The pastor, who was not aware of the nature of the business he was involved in actually prayed for him, but all the efforts came to naught, when some eagle-eyed operatives at the airport burst the bubble. The suspect was alleged to have industrially packed hard drug worth N5 million in two big tins of tomato paste, to be trafficked to Malaysia but he was fished out during the outward screening of an Egypt Air flight.
The security agents, who suspected the two big tomato tins in his bag, alongside some clothes and foodstuff subjected him to discreet investigation. Nzeka, who claimed to be ignorant of death penalty for drug offenders in Malaysia, is still being interrogated by the anti-narcotic agents, over the 1.800kg of methamphetamine.
According to the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Commander, Mr. Hamza Umar, the suspect is from Umucheze, Abia State, but was brought up in Okigwe, Imo State, where he was a commercial motorcyclist, popularly known as Okada. “The two big tins of tomato paste, with 1.8kg of methamphetamine, were found in Nzeka’s bag.
The bag contained clothes and foodstuff like, yams, rice, beans, garri and spaghetti. The food items were meant to distract officers from the tomato paste,” Hamza said. The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade, said the method adopted by the suspect is a pointer to the red alert on the Malaysia-Nigeria route at the nation’s airports. He also expressed concern that the suspect was traveling to Malaysia, where drug offences attract death penalty. He said: “This is an interesting seizure, because it is not a commonplace concealment. The mode is a reflection of the sophistry of drug trafficking. I am glad that the arrest has prevented the execution of the suspect in Malaysia.”
During interrogation, the suspect confessed not being aware of death penalty for drug traffickers arrested in Malaysia. He claimed it was one of his friends in Malaysia, who masterminded his involvement in the illegal business. “I am a commercial motorcyclist in Okigwe, Imo State. I am not aware that drug offence attracts capital punishment in Malaysia. I called my friend, who lives there on phone, to assist me, by sending some money to me, to start a business.
He told me he was going to make arrangements for me to join him there. That was how it all started. He gave my the phone number of his friend in Lagos, who invited me over and prepared travel documents for me. The man I usually called Oga, wanted to lodge me in a hotel in Lagos, but I told him I preferred to stay in my church. I was in the church and my pastor prayed for me for a successful trip. Though, I did not discuss the issue of hard drug with him. They gave me the drug and foodstuff, and promised to pay me 2,500 dollars. But unfortunately, here I am today,” he lamented.
According to the NDLEA spokesman, Mr. Mitchell Ofoyeju, the suspect would appear in court soon.