A South American man, Dadda Lorenzo Harvy Albert, has been sentenced to 13 years in prison by a Nigerian court for smuggling 117 parcels of cocaine into the country. Albert, who came to Nigeria in search of his Nigerian father, concealed the cocaine in bottles of body spray. He pleaded guilty to charges of importation and unlawful possession of the drugs. In a separate incident, a helicopter crashed into a building in Lagos, causing unrest. Emergency responders were on the scene to control the situation, and the occupants of the helicopter sustained injuries but survived. The incident raises concerns about aircraft safety in the country.
A federal high court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has sentenced a 32-year-old South American, Dadda Lorenzo Harvy Albert to 13 years in prison for smuggling 117 parcels of cocaine into Nigeria.
Justice E.A. Obile of the Federal High Court 2, convicted Albert on two counts charge of importation and unlawful possession of 9.9 kilogrammes of cocaine in a lawsuit numbered FHC/PH/181C/23.
Dadda Lorenzo Harvy Albert who is from Suriname, a northeastern coast of South America and was first arraigned on June 1st, had come to Nigeria in search of his long-lost Nigerian father, whom he referred to as “Omini,” according to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The agency, in a statement by its spokesperson, Femi Babafemi on Wednesday, disclosed that Albert concealed the cocaine in extra-large latex condoms factory-packed inside bottles of 100-ml body spray.
The convict claimed to have left Suriname on April 2nd and travelled to Sao Paulo, Brazil, before arriving in Nigeria on April 7, 2023, aboard a Qatar Airways flight.
Albert pleaded guilty to both charges, and after a review of the case’s facts on July 20, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison on each count, to run concurrently.
Meanwhile, Albert’s Counsel had made an application for him to be deported back to Suriname, but the court refused the request.
The judge also ordered the forfeiture of Ninety ($90) United States Dollars and Ten (R$10) Brazilian Real, which were recovered from the convict at the time of his arrest, to the Federal Government.
NDLEA said its operatives at the Port Harcourt International Airport in Rivers State apprehended Albert during a routine search.
Aircraft Crashes in Lagos
In another story, there has been unrest in Lagos, after a helicopter crashed into a building in the Oba Akran area of Ikeja, Lagos State, yesterday.
The incident which occurred at about 3:30pm is said to have happened close to a fuel station and a United Bank of Africa, UBA building, according to eyewitness reports.
Emerging reports revealed that first emergency responders were in the area to control the effect of the accident as well as unravel the cause of the accident.
Confirming the incident, spokesperson for the Lagos State Fire and Rescue Services, Amodu Shakiru said, “The helicopter crashed into a building but nobody died. The helicopter was used for training and it has four occupants on board. They had an escort motorized team that was following them on the ground during the training routine exercise which is the standard protocol.”
“The motorized team was the first to arrive at the scene. The occupants sustained varying degrees of injuries and are currently receiving medical attention. We will provide more details later.”
Lagos Commissioner of Police Idowu Owohunwa also visited the site, on Oba Akran Avenue, Ikeja, where the crash occurred.
Police spokesperson Benjamin Hundeyin said the pilot and co-pilot have been evacuated to a medical facility.
According to him, “Situation is under control as evacuation is almost complete,” Hundeyin tweeted while emergency operatives from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) are already at the site of the crash.
Recall that In 2020, a helicopter crashed into a building at No 16 Salvation Road, Opebi in the Ikeja area of Lagos.
The Lagos State Emergency Agency (LASEMA) and Lagos Rapid Response Squad had reported that two people died while one survived.
Also on August 12, 2015, a helicopter operated by Bristow Helicopters Nigeria Limited carrying 10 passengers and a crew of two crashed in Lagos.
The unfortunate incident led to the death of six people while six others survived.
Similarly, a Sikorsky S-76C++ Helicopter, belonging to Bristow Helicopters Nigeria Limited, was on February 3, 2016, involved in a controlled-water landing in the Lagos lagoon but all 11 occupants in the helicopter survived.
The recent development has raised concerns over the condition of aircraft being used in the country. It is pertinent to subject all aircraft intended to be used whether for commercial, recreational, or official duties to utmost technical inspection before they are released and flown.
This would be instrumental in safeguarding lives and properties.