|Celestine Ikechukwu Okonkwo|
A 39-year-old suspected drug trafficker, Celestine Ikechukwu Okonkwo, has narrated his ordeal in the hands of drug barons who sponsored his trip to Brazil. The suspect, who used to sell used clothes at Idumota market, Lagos State, said that he was promised a good job abroad but was made to suffer untold hardship before being used in smuggling cocaine.
National Drug Law Enforcement Agency's commander at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, Mr. Hamisu Lawan, who said that the suspect tested positive for cocaine ingestion, declared: “the suspect tested positive to drug ingestion while returning from Sao Paulo, Brazil. He later excreted 70 wraps of cocaine weighing 1.326kg.”
Okonkwo said that he was a happy man until the drug barons approached him with a promise of better job abroad. “I was in my shop at Idumota market where I sell used clothes. I will never forget the day a young man came to my shop to buy shirt. He told me he is from Anambra and that he lives in Brazil. He also promised to help me with a good job opportunity over there. "Honestly, I was excited and felt it was answer to my age long prayer. He collected my phone number and left. This was how it all started,” Okonkwo stated.
After three months, the man called him that he was back to Nigeria. “He prepared my international passport and also secured a visa for me. Then he told me to get set to travel any time. A few weeks later, he brought my ticket and I travelled to Brazil in January 2015. He gave me the name of the hotel where I will stay pending when he will get me a job. I was eventually abandoned to suffer. "When I exhausted my money, I began to sleep in a church. I also began to work for a Nigerian woman who owns a restaurant in order not to starve to death,” he added.
The suspect also stated that drug trafficking was not originally discussed with him before he left Nigeria: "Nobody discussed drug trafficking with me while in Nigeria. It was after I had lived in the church for some months that my sponsor located me in Sao Paulo. I was told that there is no free lunch in Brazil and that I have suffered and experienced difficult life in Brazil. This was the point they introduced drug trafficking as the only way out.
"They said that was what people do to make money. It took me about seven hours to swallow 70 wraps of cocaine. I was inexperienced because it was my first time. They promised to pay me N400,000 when I get to Nigeria,” he stated. Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade, said that the story of Okonkwo should serve as a warning to others who are seeking to travel out of the country.