The National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), on Monday, arrested a Lebanese chef, Charbel Chalouhi, suspected of dealing in drugs.

Chalouhi, of No. 18, Wahab Ogunbambo Street, off Simeon Akinlonu Crescent, Victoria Island, was arrested following a tip-off from worried residents of the area.

He is being held at the NDLEA's Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Lagos Command, Ikeja.

Also arrested were his Lebanese girlfriend and Nigerian driver, both suspected of being his accomplices.

A source told The Nation that NDLEA agents trailed Chalouhi and his driver for some time before raiding his home at about 8am, where they were said to have found at least 1kg of cocaine.

A resident of Simeon Akinlonu Crescent, Mr Samuel Olu who claimed to have witnessed the arrest said the NDLEA combed several homes in the area and questioned several occupants before arresting Chalouhi.

"I was just walking on the street and I saw the NDLEA officials when they came in. When they came, they invaded his house; not even his house alone, they went to other houses too. But when they got to know that he was the one, they checked him and they took him away. He joined the NDLEA officials in the car.

"People in this area have been very careful about complaining to law enforcement agencies about the activities of drug dealers, because such people can be very dangerous. If they get to know that you reported them, you could be harmed. People are living in fear, so the NDLEA should save us; save Nigerian youths."

A source, however, told The Nation that the NDLEA was under pressure to free Chalouhi.

The source said: "Since his arrest, different Lebanese and top politicians have been calling the Lagos State Area Command and pressurising the Investigating Officer to drop the case.

"It has also been brought to our knowledge that they are about to release him between tonight and tomorrow morning without prosecuting him for allegedly dealing in and using drugs, which is supposed to carry a minimum of 10 years imprisonment. They refused to investigate his girlfriend.

"Most importantly, for the security of our Nigerian youths and the prevention of the drug trading Lebanese cartels on the streets of Lekki, Victoria Island and Ikoyi, this case should be used to set an example to foreigners taking over our streets with hard drugs."

Ahmed Garba, NDLEA's Airport Command spokesperson, said he was not aware of the incident, but Aliu Suleiman, NDLEA Lagos Area Commander, confirmed Chalouhi's arrest.

"We are still investigating," Suleiman said.

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