Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency have recovered two suitcases containing cocaine at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The narcotic, weighing 21.9 kilogrammes, was the largest single seizure made by the Airport Command of the NDLEA.
NDLEA Principal Staff Officer, Public Affairs, Jonah Achema, disclosed this in a statement on Monday.
Achema, a Deputy Commander of Narcotics, said the two unaccompanied and unclaimed suitcases were discovered after the arrival of Ethiopian Airline ET 910 in Abuja from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Name tags attached to the bags indicated that they belonged to one Akomaye Ife and Nze Lusaka U.
According to the NDLEA, during the inward clearance of the flight, vigilant officers of the command became suspicious when they noticed that the two briefcases were abandoned on the conveyor belt without any of the passengers claiming them.
The statement said, “The NDLEA commander directed the officers to keep an eye on the suitcases and informed the airline and its handlers of NDLEA’s interest in the luggage.
“After a few days of no one claiming the luggage, the commander formally contacted the station manager of Ethiopian Airline and NAHCO Aviance, being the handler for the airline, indicating the suspicion of the agency of the suitcases and placed a standing order that NDLEA should be invited before the luggage would be released to the owner or in the event that the luggage would be returned to the point of embarkation.
“After many weeks of no claim by the owners, the commander informed the airline on the need for search to be conducted on the unclaimed suitcases.
“The airline officials, including the baggage handler along with the Department of State Services, Aviation Security and Nigeria Customs Service, were invited to the NDLEA office where the search was conducted.”
NDLEA said when the first suitcase with the name tag Akamonye Ife was searched, three blankets were found inside it with two of them containing parcels of transparent nylon with whitish substances suspected to be hard drugs.
Field tests conducted on the substance proved positive for cocaine and weighed 10.750kg.
The second suitcase reportedly contained 22 packs of shirts with one parcel of drugs concealed in each of the shirts and covered with a blue carbon paper containing a transparent nylon.
The NDLEA statement added, “The substance was also field tested and returned positive for cocaine and weighed 11.150kg. The second suitcase had a baggage tag with the name Nze Lusaka U. The drug seized made a total of 21.9kg.
“According to the NDLEA Airport Commander, Kabir Tsakuwa, investigation is ongoing and the command is currently liaising with the Ethiopian Airline to get more information in order to unravel the identity of the couriers.”