x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Roasted chickens found stuffed with cocaine at Lagos airport

A Nigerian mechanic who struggled in Brazil for more than six years had hoped the drugs would buy him a life of luxury in his native land.

LAGOS, Nigeria // The roasted chickens had an unusual stuffing - cocaine valued at Dh550,000, according to Nigerian police.

A Nigerian mechanic who struggled in Brazil for more than six years had hoped the drugs would buy him a life of luxury in his native land, Nigerian authorities said on Monday. "This was like a retirement plan for him," said Mitchell Ofoyeju, a spokesman for the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.

The accused, Vincent Chegini Chinweuwa, was arrested over the weekend at Lagos airport after he came in from Sao Paulo with 2.6 kilograms of cocaine, Mr Ofoyeju said. Photographs from the agency showed egg-shaped packages wrapped in aluminum foil and tucked into the browned chickens.

Nigeria is a major transit point for drugs coming from South America and going to Europe or the United States but recent security improvements are cutting into that dubious distinction.

Authorities have found drugs sandwiched inside the fabric of suitcases, sewn into wigs worn by female passengers, tucked into underwear or hidden in phone chargers and even inside a stethoscope, Mr Ofoyeju said. "The list is endless."

The weekend seizure may even redeem the agency's image after the controversial arrest last year of a popular Nigerian comedian known as Baba Suwe.

The agency held him for more than three weeks to monitor his bowel movements after a scanner detected what investigators believed to be drugs - but no drugs were found.

The agency was later ordered to pay him more than Dh600,000 in damages - a court decision it is appealing against.