The Federal Government has accused Egypt and Ethiopian Airlines of running drug cartels across Nigeria’s international airports.
Chairman of the Nigeria Diaspora Commission (NDC), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, made the allegation against the airlines in Abuja on Wednesday during an investigative hearing by an ad-hoc committee of the Senate set up to look into the circumstances leading to the arrest last December of a Nigerian lady, Zainab Aliyu by Saudi Arabian authorities.
“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,” she said.
The Airport Chief of Security at the Federal Airport Authority (FAAN), El-Yakub Usman Lamir, said that scanners at the Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, were not configured to detect drugs.
Lamir added that there were 15 security agents involved in checking luggages at the point of entry and exit but that the number had been reduced as a result of frequent complaints by air travelers.
Also speaking, representative of the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mustapha Abdallah, said the agency did not have enough trained sniffer dogs.
Abdallah said, “Throughout the federation, NDLEA only has 14 sniffer dogs stationed in Lagos and we don’t even have one to detect drugs at the Aminu Kano International Airport at all.”
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Kabiru Gaya, charged the officials of the NDLEA to increase the number of sniffer dogs in all the international airports across the country.
Gaya also asked the officials of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to upgrade sensitive equipment like scanners at the various airports to ensure that the country did not become a transit camp for hard drugs.