A 57-year-old grandmother and textile merchant at Balogun Market in Lagos, Omolara Morayo Odeyemi, has been caught in connection with cocaine smuggling to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.
The suspect, who claimed to be going on a pilgrimage to Jedda, Saudi Arabia, had all the paraphernalia of a pilgrim save for the narcotic content of her luggage.
The NDLEA Commander at the Lagos airport, Ahmadu Garba, explained that the two parcels of white powdery substance that tested positive for cocaine were carefully concealed inside her luggage.
In Garba’s words: “A female passenger, Odeyemi Omolara Morayo with a valid Egypt Air ticket from Lagos to Saudi Arabia had been arrested with 1.595kg of cocaine.
“The cocaine, which was concealed in a false bottom of her bag, was discovered during routine check on passengers at the departure hall.
“We had to cut the bag open to recover the cocaine because of the way it was neatly concealed.
“She was immediately arrested and the case is currently under investigation.”
In her statement, Odeyemi said her friend and customer was the one that introduced her into drug trafficking.
She said: “I am a textile merchant at Balogun Market, Lagos.
“I have two children and my daughter is married with children.
“Recently, I told my friend that I will love to go on pilgrimage this year and she promised to sponsor my trip.
“That was how she collected my international passport, processed my travel documents and bought return ticket on Egypt airline.
“The only favour she requested from me was that I should take a bag to Saudi.
“She also told me that somebody will collect the bag from me at Jeddah.
“It was an empty bag so I kept my personal effects inside it.
“On getting to the airport, officers discovered cocaine inside the bag during search and I was arrested.”
Odeyemi is from Ogun State.
In his reaction, the Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Colonel Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah, described the suspect’s action as condemnable.
Abdallah said: “Smuggling cocaine to Saudi Arabia under any guise is condemnable.
“It is good that she was arrested here because drug trafficking attracts capital punishment in Saudi.
“Apart from saving her from execution in Saudi, the prompt arrest also protected our country from disrepute.
“The Agency will not relent in the fight against illicit drug production, trafficking and abuse.”
This arrest is coming only a few days after Justice B.O. Quadri of the Federal High Court, Abuja, sentenced a 55-year-old female pilgrim, Binuyo Basirat Iyabo, to 10 years imprisonment with hard labour.
Binuyo was caught last September smuggling 76 pellets of cocaine weighing 931 grammes to Medina, Saudi Arabia.