The federal government, through the Presidential Advisory Committee on Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA) has threaten to sanction airlines found culpable of exchanging passengers’ luggage with another loaded with illicit drug in partnership with dealers during cargo handling process at the airports.
The Chairman, PACEDA, Retired Brigadier- General Buba Marwa, disclosed this during an interactive session with officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport/ Lagos State Command in Lagos recently.
He stated that recent investigation had shown that innocent passengers were victims of drug-related offences at the airport through cargo handling errors by different airlines, who miss-tag luggage, especially for people who do not have idea of the contents.
Marwa, who expressed sadness over the issues, regretted the acrimony among security operatives had resulted to unnecessary rivalry, thereby allowing unchecked entry and exist of drugs traffickers through the nation’s terminals.
On the recent wave of consumption of illicit drug in the country, he emphasised the political will of the president in solving the problem, adding that it was a huge challenge. According to him, the challenge was surmountable through the renewed drive of government in providing needed equipment to combat the menace and bring it to a hurt.
According to him: “As a young officer back then I remember that this Airport was pride of Africa but things has changed significantly as Preliminary reports has shown that innocent passengers have Luggage that do not belong them tag to them by Airlines, only to be arrested at their destination point.
“The PACEDA is inaugurated to bring recommendations that are implementable and sustainable to government to implement towards addressing these challenges and the crisis we are facing today in Nigeria through Drug Abuse.
“This airport is now entry and exist point of drug in Nigeria and there is no need for the rivalry among security operatives among all stakeholders,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, the NDLEA, MMIA Command, Mr. Ahmadu Garba, highlighted efforts of the command in addressing the challenges.
He therefore urged the committee to speedily help in procuring information, communication and technology gadgets that will facilitate effective profiling of cargo and staff.