The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has commenced an investigation into the operations of Arik Airlines after a member of its staff was arrested with cocaine in London.
In a statement Tuesday, the NDLEA said a “full scale” investigation would unmask those behind the act.
Chika Udensi, an air steward with Arik Airline, on Monday, was found with 20 kilogrammes of substances that tested positive to cocaine at Heathrow Airport.
The National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom notified the NDLEA of the arrest.
“We shall work closely with our international collaborators on the matter. Arik Airline will be sanctioned if found wanting,” Ahmadu Giade, the NDLEA Chairman, said.
Monday’s arrest would be the second time in two years a crew member of the airline would be arrested with substances suspected to be cocaine.
In 2013, two crew members were arrested by the United Kingdom Border Force with a package of drugs, with a street value of £600,000 (about N190 million), inside a bus used to transport the air crew.
The suspects – two women aged 37 and 32 – had arrived with an Arik Air flight from Lagos.
Mr. Giade said that the anti-narcotics agency would invoke Section 25 of the NDLEA Act against Arik Airline.
Section 25 of the NDLEA Act states that 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. Every commercial carrier 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 unauthorized cargo in its means of transportation.
“The law refers to the precautionary measures to include training of personnel, promotion of integrity of their personnel, submission of cargo manifests in advance, use of tamper-resistant, individually verifiable seals on containers and reporting to the Agency at the earliest opportunity all suspicious circumstances relating to drug trafficking,” Mr. Giade said.
“Nigeria has a cordial working relationship with the United Kingdom in drug control. This has resulted to a drastic reduction in the number of arrests made in the United Kingdom from flights originating from Nigeria over the years.”
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