A textile merchant and a drug baron convict, Monsurat Asabi, popularly known in the Nigerian social circuit as Toyin Igbira, has died of ovarian cancer at the age of 56.
The mother of three reportedly passed on in the early hours of Saturday at a private hospital in Surulere, Lagos.
She was a toast of Fuji musicians, during her reigning days
The National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) arrested her in 1999 at the age of 36 after years of extensive undercover anti-narcotic operations.
Toyin Igbira was then arraigned before a Federal High Court in Lagos on a two-count charge of unlawfully dealing in 5 kg of heroin and sentenced to two years in prison.
She was later re-arrested at the Lagos airport in 2002 with 72 wraps of a substance suspected to be heroin.
According to an official of the NDLEA, she had evaded arrest for previous drug trafficking offenses.
“Igbira was about to board a plane to the United States when she was arrested,”
The NDLEA official said the woman, who had been on the drug agency’s wanted list since 1997, excreted 72 wraps of suspected heroin weighing 675g and as many drug couriers have named her as the source of their wares
“This particular arrest led to chains of arrests that unravel the most notorious drug cartel,” he added.
She was declared wanted in 2007 after one Mohammed Jamiu was arrested during the screening of passengers on a Virgin Nigeria flight from Lagos to London at the Lagos airport while attempting to export cocaine which he ingested.
Jamiu claimed during interrogation that the substance he ingested was given to him by Igbira who was then at large.
A source said Igbira was diagnosed with ovarian cancer almost 10 years ago and her search for a cure took her to hospitals in Europe and America.
She went into partial remission but suffered a relapse last year, prompting doctors to predict she may not live beyond February 2019.
- Toheeb Jaiyeola is a graduate of Kwara state university, Malete. He is a versatile journalist with interest in Health, Politics and Environment.