|Drug Courier: Ifeoma Peace Okoye|
While it is almost customary for arrested drug couriers to claim ignorance and innocence, Ifeoma Peace Okoye did not. She claimed she was aware of her actions and consequences. Why then did she do it?
In her thirty years on earth, Ifeoma Peace Okoye had really gone through hell. Whether in the hands of many Nigerian men, who promised heaven and earth to have her hand in marriage and would later dump her, or from the hands of cunning family members who would not let her have access to her parents’ property even after they were dead, Okoye had not been at peace for the most part of her life. At the moment, it appears the peace she craved for is moving father from her than she would imagine.
Okoye hailed from Enugu-Ukwu in Anambra State, but grew up at Anifowoshe Street, in Shomolu area of Lagos State. Okoye enrolled at the Honeycomb Primary School and Morocco Comprehensive High School, both at same Shomolu area of Lagos State.
In a bid to secure funds to make her overseas travel, Okoye got entangled with some society men in Lagos who offered to be of assistance to her Bangladesh tour. Okoye was assured of being financed for her proposed tour, but with a proviso that she courier drugs for the cartel. Desperate as she was, she agreed to the terms of the drug cartel. When the time for her to travel with the banned substance drew near, Okoye got all assurances from her sponsors that all the news of arrests of drug peddlers at the airport were hoaxes after all and that she would have a smooth passage.
On the fateful night, Okoye set for the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Ikeja, Lagos where she was scheduled to board a Qatar Airline flight to Bangladesh enroute Doha. Having arrived the airport several hours before her flight was due to jet out of Lagos, Okoye took her time to study the various travelling formalities at the airport, and probably convinced herself that all would be well, she proceeded to the departure area of the airport when passengers enroute Doha were called for boarding.
During routine checks at the luggage check-in desk, the preying eyes of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) fished her luggage out and subjected its owner, Okoye, to further checks. It was later discovered that Okoye’s luggage was laden with 2.5kg of substances that tested positive to methamphetamine. She was immediately taken to custody for further interrogation. She later revealed her sponsors and where they operate from in Lagos Island. She claimed this was the first time she had been involved in the illicit trade.
Okoye, described by NDLEA Airport Commander Mr. Hamza Umar, as the ‘first suspect going to Bangladesh this year’, begins the story of her journey into the drug world thus, “It is true I knew that I was carrying the drugs in my bag. I used to sell female shoes and hand bags to sustain myself. I have been trading since year 2000 that I completed my secondary school. When my mother died and I am not married, I thought it was better to seek greener pastures outside the country. I fell into wrong hands because they were the people financing my trip. Smuggling the drug was the conditions attached to their getting me the travel document”, she said amid tears.
Continuing Okoye, who claimed she now regrets her action, maintained that she got all assurances from her principals that all would be well at the airport, says, “The man that gave me the bag containing the drug assured me that I will have an easy passage. He assured me that the drug will not be detected and that people carry drugs for them regularly. It did not occur to me that I was being deceived. The man prepared my travel documents and convinced me into smuggling the drug. My intention was to go and seek greener pastures in Bangladesh but right now, I do not know what to do”, she said.
Chairman of the NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade, however warned that people should be careful of the tricks of drug barons. His words, “Giving assurances that drug traffickers will not be arrested by narcotic agents is not new. It is an old trick used to deceive gullible victims by drug barons. Members of the public should be careful not to allow themselves to be used by these enemies of progress. One wrong step can ruin an entire destiny, Giade cautioned". Mitchell Ofoyeju, spokesman for NDLEA, said that Okoye will be charged to court soon.