Ensure Proper Baggage Identification, FG Tells Ethiopian, Egyptian Airlines

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Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The federal government yesterday accused two foreign airlines of running drug cartels at the country’s four international airports in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt.

Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora to the President, Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, specifically named Ethiopian and Egypt airlines as running drug cartels at the airports.

Dabiri-Erewa, made this accusation when she appeared before the Senate Ad-hoc Committee set up to look into the circumstances leading to the arrest of Zainab Aliyu in Saudi Arabia in December last year.

Dabiri-Erewa declared: “We have other foreign and local airlines operating at our airports, but Egyptian and Ethiopian Airlines have drug cartels operating at our International Airports. They operate alongside local collaborators. It is not Air Peace, not Arik Air but Egyptian and Ethiopian Airlines”.

On his part, Chief of Security of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. El-Yakub Usman Lamir, revealed that scanners at the Aminu Kano International Airport were
not configured to detect drugs.

According to him, there were 15 security agents involved in checking luggage at the point of entry and exit but had been reduced in number due to public complaints.

Representative of the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mr. Mustapha Abdallah, also disclosed that their German trained sniffer dogs were few in number.

“Throughout the federation, NDLEA only have 14 sniffer dogs stationed in Lagos and we don’t even have one to detect drugs at the Aminu Kano International Airport at all”, the NDLEA representative added.

In his remarks, Chairman of the Adhoc Committee, Senator Kabir Gaya, charged the officials of NDLEA to increase the number of sniffer dogs in all the international airports across the country.

He also directed the officials of Federal Airport Authority (FAAN) to upgrade such sensitive devices such as the scanner in the airports to ensure that the country was rid of hard drugs.

Gaya however, commended Zainab’s father for providing the information on the arrest of his daughter by Saudi Arabia law enforcement agencies to the social media from where the federal government got wind of the arrest.

He assured that, as soon as the investigation is concluded, the committee will submit its report to the Senate.