Nigeria’s government is worried about the rising incidents of drug related cases in West Africa’s busiest airport, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA).
With about 10 million air travellers using the terminal yearly and 35 daily flight operations at the airport, the Government says it is concerned about the recent discovery of passengers having their names tagged on luggage that does not belong to them.
According to a report by newsbulletinng.com, the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee on the Elimination on Drug Abuse, PACEDA, led by General Buba Maruwa, RTD, said investigations revealed that innocent passengers’ names were tagged to baggage containing hard drugs, adding that this had led to major problems for the innocent passengers on arrival at their destinations.
During a visit of the Committee to the Lagos Airport on a fact- finding mission across the GEO-political zones of the country, General Maruwa rtd said the government led by President Mohammed Buhari had shown that it was committed to ensure that drug trafficking and its use was halted.
He said their visit to the airport was to find out from security agencies the problems they have in stopping of import and export across the airport.
Maruwa charged the agencies to collaborate, share information to stop the scourge of hard drug that was ravaging the youths and the likes.
” the Buhari administration has displayed that political will to stop the scourge”.
The PACEDA chairman said the purpose of setting the committee was to make recommendations that are implementable and sustainable for government to implement toward addressing drug abuse.
The Airport Commander, NDLEA, MMIA, Garba Ahmadu in 2018 alone, 93 suspects were arrested, 5.377.125 kilograms of illicit drug were seized and secured 25 convictions.
He said MMIA as the busiest airport in West Africa with an average of 35 daily international flights with about 10 million passengers and over 100 tonnes of cargo pass through the airport daily.
On the success achieved thus far, Ahmadu said, “”From January 2018 to date, 26 people have been arrested for drug trafficking and a total of 94.120 kilogram of illicit drugs were seized. A total of 5 convictions have been recorded so far”.
These statistics he said,” show the reality and the enormity of the drug trafficking challenge in MMIA. The interactive session is an opportunity to chart a new line of action to solve the menace of drug abuse and illicit trafficking”.
Officers of security agencies in attendance said they face many challenges at the airport and among this is lack of modern scanners, ICT equipment, sniffer dogs and advance passenger information system.
The issue of insider threat was also highlighted, they said staff of other organizations working at the airport was also a challenge as they believe that such staff if not well paid could compromise or collude with traffickers to commit the crime.
Other issues noted are lack of retraining of personnel, lack of public enlightenment.
Later, the committee held a closed door meeting with top officers and men of the NDLEA before leaving the airport to the seaport where they are expected to meet with security agencies at the ports.