Abike Dabiri-Erewa, senior special assistant to the president on diaspora, has accused Egypt and Ethiopian Airlines of running drug cartels in airports across the country.
Dabiri-Erewa made the allegation when she appeared before senate ad-hoc committee investigating the circumstances leading to the arrest of Zainab Aliyu, a Nigerian student, in Saudi Arabia over alleged drug trafficking.
She had earlier disclosed that some airlines had been working with drug syndicates to put drugs in the bags of unsuspecting passengers.
“We have other foreign and local airlines operating at our airports. But Egyptian and Ethiopian Airlines have drug cartels operating at our international airports,” Dabiri-Erewa said.
“They operate alongside local collaborators. It is not Air Peace, not Arik Air, but Egyptian and Ethiopian Airlines”.
Kabiru Gaya, chairman of the committee, asked if the scanners at the airports could detect drugs and El-Yakub Lamir, airport chief of security at the Federal Airport Authority (FAAN), said scanners at the Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, where Aliyu was implicated, were not configured to detect drugs.
It was after the federal government’s intervention that Aliyu got freed from detention.
Gaya added that the number of security agents charged with checking luggage was reduced after complaints by passengers, thus making security lax.
Also answering questions on security at the airports, Mustapha Abdallah, chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), said the agency did not have enough German trained sniffer dogs.
“Throughout the federation, NDLEA only has 14 sniffer dogs stationed in Lagos and we don’t even have one to detect drugs at the Aminu Kano International Airport at all,” Abdallah said.