After Nigerian Drug Pusher Dies, NDLEA Wants Stiffer Penalties

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Nigeria’s anti-drug agency boss has called for stiffer penalty for drug trafficking after a suspect died from complications arising from ingestion of 115 wraps of drugs, an official statement said late Friday.

AFP reports that Offiah Gozie Vincent, 50, was arrested last Sunday at the Lagos international airport as he tried to board an Emirates flight to South Korea, the agency said in a statement.

He excreted 72 wraps “of substances that tested positive for methamphetamine” weighing over a kilo (2.2 pounds) and another 43 wraps were found in his stomach on Friday during an autopsy, the statement said.

“It is obvious that what is required is longer jail terms. I have always insisted that unless the punishment is commensurate to the high profit, the anti-drug war will attract more people who see it as an escape route from poverty,” NDLEA boss Ahmadu Giade was quoted as saying.

“We need to discourage drug trafficking in strong terms,” the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) chief declared.

Although the law stipulates between 15 and 25 years imprisonment for drug trafficking, judges often use their “discretionary powers” to impose less than three year sentences, NDLEA spokesman Mitchell Ofoyeju told AFP.

“This situation is worrisome to the NDLEA. We need stiffer penalties to serve as a deterrent,” he said.

NDLEA airport commander Hamza Umar said that the suspect was the first to die from complications arising from methamphetamine ingestion.

“He is … suspected to be a professional courier for ingesting 115 wraps and having 10,000 dollars cash on him,” he said.

Vincent had complained of acute pains before he died, it also said.

The ingested drugs had an estimated value of 20 million naira (130,000 dollars, 95,000 euros), NDLEA officials said.