Increasing cases of arrest of passengers over drug related offences have become a cause for concern in Nigeria, but the worrying trend is how airport workers and airline operators connive with drug cartels to make innocent travellers guilty.
Aviation correspondent, Lilian Eze-Mark reports that passengers at Nigeria’s major gateways of Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano; and an average of sixty one thousand, six hundred passengers depart each of the airports daily.
The passengers’ documents are processed by officials on duty. Some of whom have perfected the act of planting narcotics on passengers’ luggage. The Passengers must be eagle eyed to know the exact weight of their luggage and tags.
A case in point is the arrest of a Nigerian student Zainab Aliyu Zainab who was tracked to her hotel room in Saudi Arabia. This has exposed how porous the country’s airports are and how the innocent can pay the ultimate price.
A former cabin crew staff agrees that a drug cartel exists at the country’s airports.
For the former commandant Murtala Mohammed International Airport Lagos, drug barons and couriers do not operate in isolation, they are aided by airlines and airport workers. He called for proper investigation into the case.
In the face of all the security breaches, what is Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority’s stance.
National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has seized 125 kilogrammes of illicit drugs from 93 passengers in 2018.
In 2019, 26 passengers have so far been caught with 94.120 kilogrammes of banned substances at the Lagos Airport alone. From 2018 to April 2019, 30 people have been convicted for drug related offences and 23 Nigerians are on death row in Saudi Arabia for drug related offences.
The sad concern is that based on the activities of some airport workers and airlines, some of those may just be innocent.