This Day (Lagos)

6 January 2013

Nigeria: Sunny Ade's Ex-Band Member Arrested With Cocaine

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Saturday that it apprehended a veteran guitarist who played for one of the most popular afro juju musicians in the country with cocaine.The agency said that the suspect who played guitar for music star, King Sunny Ade, for three decades was caught on January 1 at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos while attempting to board an Air France flight to Italy.

Operatives of NDLEA detected two parcels of cocaine industrially hidden in the false bottom of the suspect's luggage. While confirming the arrest, NDLEA Commander the Lagos Airport, Mr. Hamza Umar, gave the name of the suspect as Fatoke Abiodun.

"We have made the first arrest in the new year. The suspect, a guitarist by name Fatoke Abiodun was found with 1.575kg of cocaine. The drug was discovered in the false bottom of his luggage during the outward screening of passengers to Italy," Hamza said.

The agency also said that the 62-year-old grandfather who is married to four wives with many children is already helping narcotic investigators handling the case.

"Fatoke has owned up to the alleged crime blaming his involvement on financial hardship," said a statement from NDLEA signed by its spokesman, Mitchell Ofoyeku, and made available to THISDAY.

"After my primary education, I only did one year in the secondary school before I went into music. I can play any kind of guitar but my music career is a sad story. I played for King Sunny Ade for 30 years before I was unceremoniously retired in 2007. I was unprepared and without severance money, I saw the bitter side of life.

"This is my first time of involving myself in drug trafficking. I did it out of frustration because at my age, I could not provide for my family. I am ashamed of myself," Fatoke was quoted to have told the agency.

Speaking on how he got involved in drug trafficking, Fatoke explained that he got a call from a friend.

"I live in Ibadan with my family. I was invited to Lagos where I was given N50,000 and they promised that every arrangement will be ready for me to travel soon. They promised to pay me N1 million . If not for my condition, I would have turned down the offer but it was my last hope to free myself from financial difficulty.

"I was given the bag and my ticket but at the airport NDLEA detected the drug. Since then, I have been in deep pain. I feel bad because I have no one to help me," Fatoke regretted.

NDLEA Chairman, Ahmadu Giade, described the involvement of Fatoke in drug trafficking as sad and disappointing.

This is a bad legacy to his children. This is a good start for the agency in the year and a sign that the days ahead will be tough for drug traffickers. The agency will continue to handle every case in accordance with the NDLEA Act", Giade stated.

NDLEA assured that the suspect would be charged to court for unlawful exportation and possession of narcotics, adding that if convicted, he could

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