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 criminal act.
Chika Egwu Udensi, an air steward with Arik Airline, on Monday night, was found with 20 kilogrammes of substances that tested positive to cocaine at Heathrow Airport.
The Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Mr. Ahmadu Giade, who ordered the investigation, said the National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom has been notified of the arrest.
The statement quoted Giade as saying, “The agency will carry out full scale investigation into this case to ascertain those behind the criminal act. We shall work closely with our international collaborators on the matter. Arik Airline will be sanctioned if found wanting.
“The agency shall invoke section 25 of the NDLEA Act against the airline, which 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 is expected 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.
“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.
“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”.
INFORMATION NIGERIA reports that 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.