A Nigerian pastor travelling to Nairobi for a three-week long crusade has been arrested at Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos with 54 joints of marijuana wrapped around his body.
Nigerian pastor caught with marijuana while heading to Kenya
He was caught with 54 joints of cannabis sativa
The man, identified as Reverend Ugochukwu Emmanuel Ekwem is said to be the General Overseer of Christ Living Hope Church. In Nigeria, a General Overseer is a person who is in charge of a church, nationwide or worldwide.
Ekwem who was travelling to Kenya on Monday, March 7 is said to have been nabbed while preparing to board the Ethiopian Airlines headed to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Confirming the arrest, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) spokesperson Femi Babafemi revealed, the pastor had packed the rolls of marijuana with an intention to use while in Kenya.
“When tested, the 54 sticks proved positive for cannabis. The cleric confessed during a preliminary interview that he packed that quantity of illicit substance on his body to use during his three-week crusade in Kenya,” said Babafemi.
Ekwem is a popular preacher, who has his church headquarters in Isuaniocha, Mgbakwu road, Awka, Awka North LGA, Anambra State, and two other branches in Lagos and Abuja.
What the law says about cannabis in Kenya
The arrest comes at a time when Kenyans are debating whether the medicinal use of marijuana should be legalised in the country.
Recently Roots Party Presidential aspirant Prof George Wajackoyah vowed to legalize the plant if elected in the August 9 General Elections, claiming that smoking the herb was made illegal by colonialists who instead sold their whiskeys and narcotics for profit.
In Kenya, cannabis cultivation and consumption were banned during the British Colonial East African Protectorate under the Opium Ordinance, the law which came into full force on January 1, 1914, criminalizing its use and cultivation.
The late Member of Parliament of Kibra, Ken Okoth had proposed the Marijuana Control Bill of 2018 in an aim to boost the country’s health-care services and enhance economic growth once enacted.
The bill which is still in Parliament seeks to decriminalize cannabis possession and use, clear criminal records of those with prior cannabis related convictions, enact a legal and regulated commercial sales program, and impose progressive taxation measures.
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