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Nigeria's Arik Airlines has become the subject of close scrutiny by the country's National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) after a flight attendant for the carrier was arrested at Heathrow Airport in London for suspected drug possession, Premium Times reported.
Monday, the flight attendant, identified by Premium Times as Chika Udensi, was found with about 44 pounds of a substance that tested positive for cocaine. According to the Times, The National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom informed the NDLEA of the arrest, and in a statement made Tuesday, via Premium Times, the Nigerian drug agency declared that a "full scale" inquiry would reveal the individuals behind the act.
Regarding the investigation, NDLEA Chairman Ahmadu Giade said to Premium Times, "We shall work closely with our international collaborators on the matter. Arik Airline will be sanctioned if found wanting."
Giade cited to Premium Times Nigeria's "cordial working relationship with the United Kingdom in drug control," a collaboration that has caused "a drastic reduction in the number of arrests made in the United Kingdom from flights originating from Nigeria over the years," he said.
Udensi's arrest is the second time in two years a crewmember of an Arik flight was collared for suspected drug possession, according to Premium Times.
In 2013, the United Kingdom Border Force took two into custody after a package of drugs worth almost $950,000 was found inside an aircrew transport bus. The suspects, Premium Times reported, were two women aged 37 and 32, and had just flown in on an Arik Air flight from Lagos, Nigeria.
Mr. Giade indicated to Premium Times that the agency would invoke Section 25 of the NDLEA Act against Arik.
This statute states, in part, 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 … 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 explained to Premium Times.
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