By Kamil Opeyemi
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, has declared a Port Harcourt, Rivers state based popular prophetess and founder of Christ Power Adoration Ministries, Faith Ugochi and a celebrity couple: Igho Ubiribo and Danielle Simba Allen wanted for recruiting teenage girls into drug trafficking while they serve as the arrowheads of an international syndicate operating from Los Angeles, USA.
The agency in a statement on Sunday by its spokesperson, Femi Babafemi said the lid was blown off the cartel when the operatives of the agency at the NAHCO import shed of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja Lagos intercepted a consignment of 32.70 kilograms of Loud, a strong variant of cannabis concealed in cartons of used wears on Wednesday 16th November 2022.
According to him, a freight agent, Ukoh Ifeanyi Oguguo was immediately arrested while further investigations led to the arrest of four more suspects: Chikodi Favour; Obiyom Shalom Chiamaka; Nnochiri Chidinma Promise and Edward Omatseye (aka Montana).
“The 15-year-old Favour was the first sales girl to be arrested at a fuel station in Ajah area of Lagos. She thereafter led the operatives to a duplex accommodation around Ikate area of Lekki, which was later discovered to be a rented apartment by the criminal group purposely for four young girls that the syndicate uses for marketing and distribution of illicit drugs,” he said
“Another girl, Shalom who is a fresh graduate of Agricultural Science from Rivers State University of Science and Technology was picked from the house alongside Favour.
“During their preliminary interviews, it was learnt that the syndicate rented another building used as drugs warehouse inside Richmond Estate, Lekki. By the time operatives located the house.”
Babafemi also revealed that other members of the syndicate had broken into the store and carted away bags of illicit substances.
“However, some illicit drugs paraphernalia including sealing machine, bloating machine and packaging bags were recovered from the warehouse. A follow-up operation led to the arrest of Edward Omatseye at his residence around Lekki area. Edward confessed during interview to be working for Igho and his wife, Danielle, who are identified as the overall heads of the criminal group,” he added
He further stressed that it was established during the course of investigation that Favour and Shalom were recruited as salesgirls in the illicit drug trade by Prophetess Faith Ugochi of Christ Power Adoration Ministries, using her church platform to recruit teenage girls brought to her for help, on behalf of the celebrity couple: Igho Ubiribo (aka Tiny) and Danielle Simba Allen (aka Dani), who are the owners of the business, while Edward Omatseye (aka Montana) coordinates the illicit drug trade activities for them in Nigeria, with Nnochiri Chidinma Promise as representative of Ben Cargo Ltd, a freight company responsible for the shipment of illicit consignments into the country.
“While Nnochiri Chidinma Promise and Edward Omatseye (aka Montana) have already been charged to court and are currently facing trial at the Federal High Court, Lagos alongside Ben Cargo Ltd, a freight company which had been linked to two previous drug seizures and also involved in the current case, several attempts to get Prophetess Faith Ugochi, Igho Ubiribo and Danielle Simba Allen submit themselves for questioning have proved abortive.
“A letter of invitation sent to Prophetess Faith Ugochi of Christ Adoration Ministries, No. 27 Anozie Street, Mile 2, Diobu, Port Harcourt, Rivers State on 28th November 2022 was received and acknowledged by her mother, with whom she runs the Church. The letter was followed with a reminder on 9th January, 2023 after a long wait.”
He said another letters of invitation were also extended to Igho Ubiribo and Danielle Simba Allen adding that a reminder was also sent when the couple didn’t show any readiness to respond to the first invitation.
“While Prophetess Ugochi fled her home and went into hiding but continued her prophetic ministration on Facebook, the duo of Igho and Danielle initially sent a legal representation to ask for another time to honour the invitation, they have since gone incommunicado.”
He said: “Curiously, they hurriedly moved all funds traced to their company Lasgidi Backwood Ltd where all proceeds from the sales of illicit drugs were deposited into a private account of one Victor Imagoro.
“The Agency has since blocked the sum of Eighty Million Naira (N80,000,000) traced to the account and obtained a court order to seize all properties including a fuel station linked to the suspects in Lagos and Port Harcourt.
“The NDLEA has further sought and obtained an order of the Federal High Court Lagos to declare wanted the celebrity couple: Ubiribo Igho and Danielle Allen, as the arrowheads of the illicit trade as well as Prophetess Faith Ugochi, who recruits teenage girls as sales representatives for the duo,” he added
Commending the officers and men of MMIA for a painstaking investigation of Prophetess Faith Ugochi and the celebrity couple, Igho Ubiribo and Danielle Simba Allen along with other members of their cartel, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) assured that “no effort will be spared to ensure the fleeing suspects are brought to face the consequences of their action.”