Mysterious Story Of Gloria Okon
Gloria Okon is one of the most mysterious drug dealers who was caught with heroin, arrested and died in very controversial circumstances.
On the 22nd of April, 1985, Gloria Okon, was about to leave Nigeria and fly to England when she was suddenly arrested by the police at the Aminu Kano International Airport with substances suspected to be heroin and other hard drugs. Tucked in internally were 56.70 grammes of the substances. She was also caught with the sum of N20,000, 60 pounds sterling, $301 and 19,000 Italian lira.
The drug law enforcement agents were extremely happy to have apprehended Okon but their jowls of excitement were pangs of sheer agony for her.
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The 35-year-old woman was arrested in 1985 when anyone caught with drugs would face the death penalty according to the provision of the Decree 20 put in place by the junta of General Muhammadu Buhari. Being at the point of death, Okon became an unwilling and helpless star before the nation’s news-thirsty media. All Nigerian newspapers and magazines contained her story and the radios gave the chilly broadcast. Many people wouldn’t even pay attention to that news but for a sudden twist in Okon’s story that turned her into one of the most mysterious drug pushers in Nigeria’s history.
Six days after her arrest, the most unexpected and bizarre happened. Gloria Okon died in custody in very controversial circumstances. Her sudden death made the ordinary case with “heroin suspect” to be known as one of the most enduring narcodramas in Nigeria. You may ask why?
Okon did not just die; she died in very questionable and mysterious circumstances. Fortunately, the Buhari regime didn't bury the case and an investigation was launched into the matter.
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The judicial commission of enquiry started its work on the Okon case three months after her death (precisely 5th, August) and it had to carry out three main tasks:
1. Make proper inquiry as to the arrest and death of Gloria Okon
2. Determine whether during the period of her arrest and custody, if any person(s) contributed to her death through acts incidental to the case
3. Make suitable recommendations
But that would never happen. On the 27th of August, the military regime of Buhari was toppled by General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and till date, no one knows how it all ended and the case remains a mystery.
However, it would be noted that before she died, Okon reportedly confessed and revealed a ‘big baron’. A customs official commenting on her revelation said:
‘If carefully handled, she may lead us to the big brains behind the business.’
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Unfortunately, before Okon could reveal the name of her “big baron”, she was stone-dead. According to those who investigated her case and questioned her, the only clue she left was simply the name ‘Bassey’. According to the commissioner of police for Kano State, Ibrahim Coomasie, it was almost impossible to find her mentor because Okon did not give the second name of Bassey or his address. Therefore, the investigation met a dead end.
However, it would be noted that Okon was the only drug mule who was very willing to cooperate with the police and reveal all information on her sponsors. But before she could say anything, she was gone.
Later during the investigation it was stated that the cause of her death was food poisoning. Okon didn’t show any sign of ill-health when she was arrested as the public inquiry found out. But according to a customs officer, who kept her in custody, Gloria Okon fell ill just a day after she was arrested. The officer also said that on the day she was arrested (22nd), Okon made a request for rice and beans which she was given. But on the 23rd and 24th, she was taken to the hospital after she complained. But the officer did not explain what happened from the 25th to the 28th when Okon passed away.
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The mystery of Okon’s case was further deepened when none of her relatives or friends showed up to identify her as a suspect or take her corpse. Therefore, 39 days after her death Okon’s corpse remained unclaimed at the Murtala Muhammed Hospital Mortuary where it was deposited.
The judicial commission of inquiry was supposed to shed light on the case by the end of August, but a new leader came to power and he was a military president – Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida. The late lawyer Gani Fawehinmi attempted to revive the investigation of the case but this put him on a path of direct clash with Haliru Akilu and Kunle Togun, the most dreaded security agents of the president.
No one was ever charged over the death of Gloria Okon.