The NDLEA Chairman, Col. Muhammad Abdallah (rtd), revealed this in a statement yesterday.
The cartel were identified and arrested after NDLEA detectives personnel carried out an investigation of a Nigerian lady identified as Zainab Aliyu that was arrested on 26, of December 2018 shortly after she and her family arrived for lesser Hajj by Saudi Arabia police.
Report has it that Zainab was accused of entering Saudi Arabia with tramadol. Some of the major phenomenon that trigger the investigation and arrest was that many Nigerian were arrested in Saudi Arabia over drugs related trafficking and executed, with this discovery, it might be that many Nigerians executed by Saudi Arabia government may be innocent.
She was later apprehended on accounts that a luggage, bearing her name tag, contained an unlawful substance.
The accused are Idris Umar Shehu (alias Umar Sanda), Sanni Suleiman, Nuhu Adamu, Rhoda Adetunji, Udosen Itoro Henry and Sanni Hamisu.
According to a report of the investigation, a copy of which was made available to journalists yesterday, a suspected cartel in the airport had planted the tramadol-bearing luggage on Zainab.
In the report, which has since been forwarded to the Consul-General in Jeddah for action, it was further established that Zainab who, like her mother and sister, had only a luggage, was not aware that a second bag had been labelled in her name.
The NDLEA said: “Based on the investigation activities carried out, it has been revealed that the said Zainab Habibu Aliyu is not the owner of the second luggage tagged in her name.
“On 24th of December 2018, Maryam Habibu Aliyu and her two daughters, Hajara Habibu Aliyu and Zainab Habibu Aliyu, who are students of Maitamia Sule University, Kano, were to travel to Saudi Arabia for Lesser Hajj. The three passengers had one luggage each.
“At the Departure Hall, three bags belonging to the three passengers were given to one Bako A. Salisu, who weighed the bags, tagged and gave the labels to the passengers.
“Immediately the luggage of the passengers were checked in, Rhoda Adetunji, an official of the Airport Authority (one of the accused persons) approached them, asking for their remaining luggage as the luggage checked-in by the passengers were lower than the total weight they were entitled to travel with – two of their luggage weighed 36kgs while one weighed 17kgs.
“The passengers ignored the said Rhoda Adetunji and went to the arrival hall to purchase yellow card and by the time they came back from the arrival hall to the departure hall, screening for boarding had already started and the three passengers all went for boarding. They never consented nor knew that any other luggage was tagged to the name of any of the passengers.
“On 26th of December 2018 about 12.45 midnight, the Saudi Arabia police came to the hotel room of Maryam and her daughters in Saudi Arabia to arrest one of her daughters, Zainab, on allegation that one of the luggage tagged to her name and passed has prohibited drugs, tramadol. Zainab is presently in detention in Saudi Arabi awaiting investigations and prosecutions.
“Following receipt of the complaint, seven people working at MAKIA were arrested in connection with the offence.
“In the course of the investigations, the telephones of all the suspects were seized by the agency for investigations, while going through the phones of the suspects one after other, it was discovered that the following happened between Sani Suleiman and Idris Umar, alias Umar Sanda.
“On 24th December 2018, Sani Suleiman with phone number 08036066448 was in conversation with Umar Sanda with phone number 08065499791 at 8.26a.m., 12.47a.m., 03.56p.m., and 4 p.m.
“On the same 24th December 2018, Sani Suleiman with number 08036066448 sent a WhatsApp picture of two parcels to Umar Sanda on phone number 08065499791.
“Also on the same 24th December, Suleiman sent a WhatsApp picture of two coloured luggage to phone number belonging to one Alhaji Gabari now at large.”