Notorious drug baron who doubled as textile merchant, Monsurat Asabi, popularly known in the Nigerian social circuit as Toyin Igbira, has died of ovarian cancer, Igbere TV reports.
Igbere TV learnt that she was aged 56.
The mother of three reportedly passed on in the early hours of Saturday at a private hospital in Surulere, Lagos.
A toast of Fuji musicians, Igbira was a school dropout who later became a drug dealer.
The National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) arrested her in 1999 at the age of 36 after years of extensive undercover anti-narcotic operations.
She was arraigned before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on a two-count charge of unlawfully dealing in 5 kg of heroin and sentenced to two years in prison.
Igbira was re-arrested at the Lagos airport in 2002 with 72 wraps of a substance suspected to be heroin.
An official of the NDLEA said she had evaded arrest for previous drug trafficking offences.
“Igbira was about to board a plane to the United States when she was arrested,” an NDLEA spokesperson said.
He said the woman, who had been on the drug agency’s wanted list since 1997, excreted 72 wraps of suspected heroin weighing 675g.
“This particular arrest led to chains of arrests that unravel the most notorious drug cartel,” he added.
Many drug couriers have named her as the source of their wares.
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.
Sources said Igbira was diagnosed with ovarian cancer almost 10 years ago and her search for 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.