Leadership (Abuja)

8 August 2010

Nigeria: NDLEA Arrests Professional Tennis Player Over Cocaine

Lagos — Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, at the weekend apprehended a professional tennis player, Dairo Toyin, 30, and a Lagos businessman, Okoliachu Chukwudi Augustine, 46, over alleged drug dealing.

Dairo was apprehended while attempting to board a British Airways flight to London. His final destination was New York where he usually trains in preparation for a tournament. The other suspect, Chukwudi was nabbed in his house at Festac area of Lagos. According to the NDLEA Airport commander, Alhaji Hamza Umar, both suspects have been hiding under the cover of their professions in dealing in narcotics.

"While Dairo Toyin hides under the cover of a sports man, Okoliachu Chukwudi presents himself as an importer of marbles and other building materials. Until their arrests by the NDLEA, no one would ever imagine they are into drugs", Hamza stated. Dairo, who began his professional tennis career in 1996, has represented Nigeria in several Davis cup competitions.

Notable among his international appearances are Italy in 2002, Senegal in 2004, Germany and Nigeria both in 2006. The tennis player, who hails from Ekiti State, has however, blamed his woes on frustration arising from inability to sponsor his trip to international tournaments.

Dairo lamented, "I am ashamed of myself. It was not intentional. My problem began in 2005 when my sponsor died. There was no one to help, things became difficult. In the process, I was introduced into drug trafficking. I have been smuggling drugs to take care of my bills each time I attended international tournaments. This time around, I was caught. I swallowed 100 wraps and when they weighed it, the weight was 1.445kg. It also tested positive for heroin".

Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade said any drug trafficker that rejects the Agency's call for a drug-free society will end up in prison custody. "The dragnet of the Agency is large enough to accommodate all drug barons. Innocent members of the public should also beware of the devices of these enemies of the society to derail them from their destinies.

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