Posted by Shola Adekola, Lagos | 27 April 2019 | 840 times
Authorities are rolling out a number of enhanced security measures in airports across the country following reports of criminals planting hard drugs on innocent passengers.
These measures follow the discovery by the authorities that air passengers with little or light luggage have become targets of criminals planting extra luggage laden with hard drugs on them.
As part of the measures, airlines will now be asked to design a document for each of their passengers to sign detailing the number of luggage they are checking in and the contents.
In addition to the above is an increase in security monitoring of airline staff members that are directly or indirectly involved in the checking in of passengers’ luggage.
There are also plans to dismantle shops in the general area of departure halls which are suspected of harbouring these banned substances.
Commander of the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport command of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mr Ambrose Umoru, who confirmed these measures to Saturday Tribune, said the agency was determined to put a decisive stop to the criminality of the few who smuggle drugs into and through the airport.
“These criminals usually claim that they have excess luggage. They, therefore, bribe airline baggage handlers to help them tag bags with names of passengers who do not have enough luggage. Sometimes even the airline staff may not know they are being used for drugs but because bribe money is involved, they do it for them,” the NDLEA commander disclosed.
He advised travellers to ensure that no one without official mandate handles their luggage for them just as he warned them against taking luggage or parcels from anyone.
Speaking on the role being played as the statutory government agency responsible for fighting drug-related crimes in the country, the principal staff officer, public affairs, of the agency at its headquarters in Abuja, Mr Jonah Achema, said in order to restore confidence in the traveling public since the news on the activities of the drug cartel has been put in the public domain, a lot of official efforts are ongoing to tackle the menace head-on. He did not give details.
According to Achema, it was through NDLEA’s efforts that criminals that used to operate at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport were not only arrested but prosecuted.
His words: “We are doing everything to ensure we bring this criminality to the end. NDLEA is doing everything possible to rid the airports of this drug cartel. It may interest you to know that it was the efforts of our officials that exposed the activities of the drug cartel.”
Reacting to the insinuations doing the rounds that some officials of the NDLEA formed part of the drug ring at the airports, he waived the insinuation aside, saying anyone who has such evidence should release it.
•Excerpted from Tribune report
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