The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has confirmed the death of Edwin Ozoani, 34, a commercial bus driver, who died after a wrap of cocaine he ingested burst in his stomach.
Mitchell Ofoyeju, the NDLEA Head of Public Affairs, said the deceased, who returned from Brazil on-board a South African Airline flight, was arrested at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos.
"During screening, he tested positive to drug ingestion and was placed on observation," he said. "He excreted 10 wraps of substances that tested positive for cocaine, weighing 180 grammes. While still under observation, he complained of stomach pain and was rushed to the hospital where he eventually died. A post-mortem examination revealed that his death was due to one of the wraps of cocaine he ingested that ruptured in his stomach."
Reacting to the development, Ahmadu Giade, NDLEA Chairman, called for stiffer penalties against convicted drug traffickers.
"Until we get the penalty right, drug trafficking will remain attractive," he said. "Every case of drug trafficking involving type A drugs like cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine runs into several millions of naira. We must therefore wield the big stick against offenders to serve as deterrent. I am optimistic that adherence to stringent bail conditions and minimum of 15 years jail term will turn the tide of events.
This death is sad and painful. The deceased would have been alive to face trial and ultimately given opportunity to learn from his mistakes. I urge members of the public to shun drug trafficking and make quality choices that will enable them maximise their destinies."
The NDLEA Airport Commander, Hamza Umar added that the family members of the deceased have applied for the corpse to be released to them after the autopsy.
“Following the sad incident, we made contact with the family members," he said. "They also witnessed the operation where the ruptured wrap of cocaine that killed their son was recovered from his stomach. The agency has also granted their request for the corpse to be released to them.