Checking Activities of Drug Cartels at the Nation’s Airports

Over four months ago, zainab aliyu and her family left the shores of the country for the kingdom of Saudi Arabia for lesser hajj.

Little did she know that the journey would end up with arrest, subsequent agony and trauma over an offense she did not commit.

In the bid to prove her innocence and the confidence he reposed on his daughter, Zainab’s father used all his connections with the appropriate quarters to save his daughter from paying the supreme price for an offence in which she was absolutely innocent.

However, with the timely intervention of the Federal Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zainab Aliyu was finally released after four months in detention by the Saudi Arabia authorities.

Zainab and another Nigerian, mr. Ibrahim Abubakar were arrested in Saudi Arabia because the bags bearing their name tags contained tramadol.

Tramadol is one of the drugs prohibited by most Asian and Middle East countries with stiff laws put in place for peddlers and traffickers.

The unfolding of this incident brings to fore the need to beam more searchlights on activities at the nation’s airports.

For instance, a memo sent by Nigeria’s Consulate General in Saudi Arabia to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed a criminal syndicate collaborating with greedy officials of some airlines at Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano State.

This syndicate connived with the saboteurs to check in drug laden bags using passengers’ particulars without their consent or knowledge.

Commendably, the outcome of investigation by Nigeria Police and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency absolved Zainab and Abubakar of the drug peddling.

It boggles the mind however, the number of innocent Nigerians that have fallen victims of this cartel and executed abroad due to no fault of their own.

It also goes to show that the nation’s airport s are under threat from barons who will go to any length to achieve their evil plans.

Records in the Nigerian consulate in Jeddah Saudi Arabia as at August 2018 showed that eighty-eight Nigerians were in the country’s prisons serving jail terms for drug related offences.

Also, about ninety percent of those arrested in that country were not reported to the embassy or consulate because they came by hajj or lesser hajj visa.

To stem the tide of loss of innocent souls, airport authorities need to carry out background checks of workers, especially luggage handlers to prevent sabotage to the airline as well as protect innocent Nigerians from falling victims.

State of the art scanners should be installed in all airports across the country to curb activities of drug peddlers and their connivance.

National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, should be more alive to its responsibilities.

It is heartwarming that six persons have been arrested in connection with the crime.

These economic saboteurs and others must face the full weight of the law to serve as deterrent to others

Furthermore, the authentic owner of the luggage with Zainab’s name tag should be identified and prosecuted.

Most importantly, passengers on their part should take photograph of their bags and tags for identification and proof should any issue arise on them.

Anthonia Akanji

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