NDLEA May Sanction Qatar, Emirates, S’African Airlines

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Qatar, Emirates, and South African Airways have topped the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency’s list of 14 airlines used by drug traffickers through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, between January and June.

The agency said it was ready to sanction the airlines for failing to prevent drug trafficking in accordance with the law.

According to a statement by the agency’s Head of Public Affairs, Mitchell Ofoyeju, the other airlines that have been used by drug traffickers are Etihad, British Airways, Arik, Asky, Turkish, Kenyan, KLM, Air France, Virgin Atlantic, Ethiopian and Alitalia airlines.

The statement quoted the NDLEA Chairman, Ahmadu Giade, as saying, “Any airline found to be involved in drug trafficking will be sanctioned. The agency will not hesitate to sanction any airline found culpable in a drug case. Section 25 of the NDLEA Act stipulates that every commercial carrier must take reasonable precaution to prevent the commission of an offence under the Act. Any infringement shall be treated in accordance with the law.”

Ofoyeju stated that the half-year report of the agency showed that a total of 43 cases of drug seizures were made at the Lagos airport on the 14 airlines.

“Qatar had nine cases; Emirates, eight; South African, six; and Etihad, three. While seven others, British Airways, Arik, Asky, Turkish, Kenyan, KLM and Air France had two cases each. Virgin Atlantic, Ethiopian and Alitalia airlines recorded one case each,” the statement read in parts.

The agency also identified South Africa, China, Malaysia and the United Kingdom as the top destinations of drug traffickers within the period.

It added that incoming drug seizures came from Brazil, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Panama and Bolivia.

“Outward seizures to 15 countries were also made. They are South Africa, five, China, four, Malaysia and the United Kingdom, three each, while India and Italy had two each. Eight other countries: Thailand, Doha, Germany, Turkey, Mozambique, Senegal, Gabon and Liberia recorded one each.

“Incoming drug seizures made between January and June came from five countries. Brazil led the seizures chart with eight; United Arab Emirates, five; Pakistan and Panama, two each; while Bolivia is one,” Ofoyeju said.

The statement also noted that 253.390kg of drugs worth N2.3bn were intercepted while 41 suspected traffickers were apprehended – 39 males and two females.

NDLEA Airport commander, Mr. Hamza Umar, gave the breakdown of the drugs as follows: Methamphetamine weighed 169.290kg, cannabis, 47.230kg; cocaine 31.475kg; and heroin 5.395kg.

“It should be noted that seizures of methamphetamine and cannabis weighing 169.290kg and 47.230kg respectively were both meant for export,” he said.
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