The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has made a recent announcement concerning an ongoing investigation into an alleged drug trafficking ring. The suspects in question include a Port Harcourt-based prophetess and founder of Christ Power Adoration Ministries, Faith Ugochi, and a celebrity couple, Igho Ubiribo and Danielle Allen.
These individuals have been accused of being involved in the recruitment of teenage girls into the illicit drug trade, as well as drug trafficking itself.
The NDLEA spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, stated in a press release on Sunday that the suspects are believed to be key figures in an international syndicate that operates from Los Angeles, USA.
The investigation into the syndicate began when NDLEA operatives intercepted a consignment of 32.70Kg of Loud, a strong variant of cannabis, concealed in cartons of used clothing at the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc import shed of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Ikeja, Lagos on November 16, 2022.
Following the discovery of the illegal drugs, a freight agent by the name of Ifeanyi Oguguo was immediately arrested. Subsequent investigations led to the apprehension of four additional suspects: Chikodi Favour, Obiyom Chiamaka, Nnochiri Chidinma, and Edward Omatseye (aka Montana). The first suspect to be apprehended was a 15-year-old girl named Favour, who was arrested at a fuel station in the Ajah area of Lagos.
Further investigations revealed that Favour was not acting alone. She led NDLEA operatives to a duplex accommodation located around the Ikate area of Lekki, which was later discovered to be a rented apartment by the criminal group. This apartment was being used to house four young girls who were recruited by the syndicate for marketing and distribution of illicit drugs.
Another young girl, Shalom, was also picked up by NDLEA operatives from the same house alongside Favour. During their preliminary interviews, it was discovered that the syndicate rented another building inside Richmond Estate, Lekki, which was being used as a drugs warehouse.
By the time operatives located the warehouse, it had been broken into and the illicit substances had been removed. However, various drug paraphernalia, including a sealing machine, bloating machine, and packaging bags, were recovered from the warehouse.
A follow-up operation led to the arrest of Edward Omatseye at his residence around Lekki. Omatseye confessed to working for Igho and his wife, Danielle, who were identified as the overall heads of the criminal group.
Further investigation established that Favour and Shalom had been recruited as sales girls in the illicit drug trade by Prophetess Faith Ugochi of Christ Power Adoration Ministries. The prophetess had reportedly used her church platform to recruit teenage girls for the celebrity couple’s business.
Nnochiri Chidinma was found to be the representative of Ben Cargo Limited, a freight company responsible for the shipment of illicit consignments into the country. Both Chidinma and Omatseye were charged to court and are currently facing trial at the Federal High Court in Lagos alongside Ben Cargo Limited.
However, several attempts to get Prophetess Faith Ugochi, Igho Ubiribo, and Danielle Allen to submit themselves for questioning have proved unsuccessful.
The NDLEA has blocked the sum of N80m traced to a private account of one Victor Imagoro, where all proceeds from the sales of illicit drugs were deposited. They have also obtained a court order to seize all properties linked to the suspects, including a fuel station in Lagos and Port Harcourt.