55-year-old mother Basira Binuyo, a pilgrim on the way to the mandatory Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca known as hajj, was arrested at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, Nigeria, after testing positive for ingesting drugs for trafficking.
After being arrested last week, Binuyo originally released seventy-six pellets of cocaine from her body, proving her positive test results to be true. She has since excreted six more, bringing the total to eighty-six pellets, or nine hundred and thirty-one grams — nearly a kilogram of cocaine hidden in her body. The married mother of three comes from a local government area of Kwara State and sells cosmetics at Dosumu market, Lagos.
In a statement to prosecutors, Binuyo confessed her role in the drug smuggling operation and also gave prosecutors information that will lead them to those responsible. According to Nigeria’s Punch newspaper, Binuyo said:
I am a trader in Lagos, married with three children. I wanted to expand my cosmetic business but I had no money. My sponsor offered to foot my expenses to Saudi on pilgrimage. This was how I got involved in the act. I was excited until the issue of drugs was introduced. I wanted to decline but it was late. Besides, I was offered N1m [about $3167] which I accepted. I swallowed the drugs in Lagos and took a flight to Abuja on my way to Medina but I was caught in the process.
Muhammad Abdallah, Chairman of Nigeria’s National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), called Binuyo’s actions shameful and discreditable but also went after the drug smugglers that involved her in their criminal enterprise. In a statement, Abdallah said, “It is a shameful act for a 55-year-old mother, who is going on a holy pilgrimage, to ingest narcotics. This is very shocking and a clear indication of her inability to effectively discharge her parental responsibility. The agency shall invoke the powers of the law against her and others caught indulging in the production and trafficking of narcotic drugs.”
Earlier this month, three Canadians — 22-year-old Melina Roberge, 28-year-old Isabelle Lagace, and 63-year-old Andre Tamine — were arrested carrying 209 pounds of cocaine, or twenty-three million dollars’ worth, that had been packaged into the suitcases as they disembarked from a cruise in Australia.
According to Breitbart News, “Authorities were ready to search the ship once it docked in Sydney after a joint investigation with the Canadian Border Service and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security led authorities to the ship.”
All three are facing life in prison in Australia if found guilty.