A Lagos-based trader has died of complications from cocaine ingestion after collapsing at the departure hall of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, last Sunday.
Emmanuel Ndulue, 32, was an intending passenger on an Ethiopian airline flight to China en route Addis Ababa before he slumped.
Airport officials said he had indicated his intention to abort his trip minutes earlier.
“The deceased collapsed at the departure hall and was being attended to by Port Health officials,” Hamisu Lawan, NDLEA Commander at the Abuja airport said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The collapse triggered our suspicion and a narcotic officer was assigned to monitor the development. When the suspect’s condition stabilized at the hospital, he confessed to cocaine ingestion. At that point, the NDLEA took over the case from the Port Health Services. He later died while receiving treatment.”
The NDLEA said that Mr. Ndulue, who hails from Anambra State, decided to cancel his trip “due to complications arising from the cocaine he ingested.”
“He collapsed immediately he notified the airline officials of his intention to cancel his trip,” the agency said in the statement.
“At the hospital, fifty-five (55) wraps of substances that tested positive for cocaine with a total weight of 1.20kg was evacuated from his stomach.”
Ahmadu Giade, NDLEA’s Chief Executive, described narcotic ingestion as a suicide mission and reiterated his call for a drug-free society.
“Ingesting narcotics is a suicide mission. I sympathize with the family members,” Mr. Giade said.
“Drug trafficking is a serious crime. It is a threat to public health and safety. The current trend of drug ingestion by drug traffickers in disregard of the grave health implication must be condemned by all. People must shun drug trafficking and support the anti-drug campaign.
“We must collectively intensify counter-narcotics efforts by talking to at least one person daily on the dangers of drugs and benefits of a drug-free society.”
The NDLEA boss also urged members of the public to report any suspected drug dealer to the agency.
The agency said it had contacted the father of the deceased.