NDLEA yet to fix punishment for Arik over ‘cocaine trafficker’ staff

Arik Air
Arik Air

An Arik hostess was caught in possession of N143 million worth of cocaine. 

The Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, said it is yet to decide on a punishment for Arik Air over the arrest of the airline’s staff for drug offences.

Two air hostesses of Arik were arrested at the Heathrow Airport, London, on May 20 for alleged drug possession.

One of the hostesses was allegedly caught in possession of six kilogrammes of cocaine valued at £600,000 (N143million) and is still detained by the U.K. authorities; while the other was caught with 60 packs of cigarettes and released to the Nigerian authorities.

The NDLEA had days after the incident threatened to sanction Arik for allowing its aircraft to be used for drug trafficking by its staff.
The agency in a statement, quoting its chairman, Ahmadu Giade, said section 25 of the NDLEA Act outlined the responsibilities of airlines.
“It shall be the duty of every commercial carrier to take reasonable precaution to ensure that its means of transport are not used in the commission of offences under this Act.
“They are to comply with appropriate security measures at points of entry and exit in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and other customs control areas, to prevent unauthorised cargo in its means of transportation,” Mr. Giade was quoted to have said.

The agency, however said it has not decided on the punishment to set for Arik.

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“We cannot say what kind of punishment will be given to Arik Air at the moment until the final judgment has been passed on the accused person,” Mitchell Ofoyeju, the NDLEA spokesperson told PREMIUM TIMES.

“After the U.K authorities are done with her and have passed their judgment then, we will know the next step to take.”

The agency said the second air hostess, who was caught with cigarettes, is cooperating with it on how and why she smuggled 60 packs on the airline.

“She was caught with 60 packs of cigarettes which is rather questionable. If she was seen with one or two packs, it’s still a bit understandable; probably, it’s for her personal use.

“I do not think its prohibited anywhere in the world to smoke, but when you are seen with 60 packs then, it is questionable,” Ms. Ofoyeju said

PREMIUM TIMES learnt that passengers are only allowed a maximum of 10 packets of cigarette on a flight.

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