Anxiety as NAHCO workers connive in narcotic export attempt
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has revealed how staffers of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) allegedly conspired with suspected drug traffickers in a botched attempt to export 144kgs of ephedrine to Maputo, Mozambique.
Narcotics are illegal or banned addictive drugs that affect mood or behaviour.
In a statement, NDLEA said its preliminary investigation, alleged that the NAHCO officials, in charge of cargo safety and security at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) Abuja, swapped already screened consignments with similar packages that contained narcotics.
At least four of the staffers have been arrested and charged to court for prosecution.
Meanwhile, NAHCO has said it would fully cooperate with officials of NDLEA as part of measures to rid the airports and the nation of illicit drug trafficking.
NDLEA revealed that the illicit activities of the group were uncovered following an intelligence report by the anti-narcotic agency.
In the course of investigation, the agency extended her search by inviting a number of airport officials suspected to be involved in the incident for interrogation.
While others were cleared, five staff of NAHCO including a load controller who is at large was indicted.
“These staff were deliberately working to undermine security measures at the airport by swapping already screened cargoes with similar consignment that had been stuffed with narcotics,” NDLEA said in a report.
The Chief Security Supervisor, Audu Garba, was also identified as the suspected mastermind of this high-level conspiracy. Others are two security assistants, Nasiru Ibrahim and Haruna Abdullahi, a driver, Adamu Dasura as well as a load controller, Victor Ahenje who is at large.
Chairman and Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (rtd.) said that weak-links current explored by drug traffickers must be identified and strengthened.
“This is unacceptable and unethical. It is time to identify and beef-up areas of weaknesses. The action of the defendants is calculated to undermine the collective efforts of the entire airport security community.
“This deliberate act to damage the reputation of the country in the interest of some drug trafficking syndicates must be condemned and resisted by all. The charges have been filed in and they will appear in court soon,” he said.
Already, the Managing Director of NAHCO, Norbert Bielderman, had agreed to work with NDLEA to fish out all the culprits.