The Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), attached to the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos has commenced operation to rid the terminal of drugs hidden in and around the terminal.
Speaking to journalists, the NDLEA Airport Commander, Mr. Ahmadu Garba stated that about six sniffer dogs would be deployed for the exercise and replaced with another set after some minutes for effective coverage.
According to him, “We have enough dogs for the agency at a particular time maybe we may be deploying 5 or 6, we will be alternating the dogs at a certain period of time, the handlers are experts, when they bring them out for a certain number of minutes, then they take them back and replace them.”
He stated that the Command would ensure that drug traffickers do not use the COVID-19 pandemic to move drugs out of the country using Lagos airport.
“We want to use the Canine Unit to try and comb the nooks and crannies of the airport to see if things were hidden during the time of inactivity as it might have afforded some people to try some things so we want to make sure we start on a good note and make things have been taken care of so we want to see what we can do to comb the airport,” he said.
He continued, “Now there is an extension by a week, that will give us more time to improve on what we started and build on what we have done and I think to that extent we are ready by the time operations will commence definitely results will start coming in.”
Speaking further, he stated that the operation which would last for one week would start from the basement and departure areas of the terminal building.
According to Ahmadu, “The combing will be starting with the baggage area, there are some nooks and crannies around the departure hall upstairs basically these are the most important areas, walkways downstairs around the arrival, all these hidden areas, these are areas I think we need to move around, let them sniff and see if there is something hidden if there is nothing, then we are good to go and if there is something we will see what we can do about it.”
On the Command’s readiness for international flights, Ahmadu posited that the command was fully prepared for the commencement of international flights revealing, that the officers of the command have been undergoing comprehensive training on the COVID 19 protocols with its international partners.
The NDLEA Commander said after the training, the officers would be more confident and more knowledgeable in the discharge of their duties especially in handling passengers with the COVID-19 symptoms.
He assured that NDLEA officers at Lagos Airport Command would follow whatever the COVID 19 protocols entailed.
He informed that during the lockdown, with the unrestricted movement of cargo, some drug traffickers wanted to use the opportunity to bring in drugs but were arrested, adding that there were a lot of seizures and that arrest of both males and females.
The NDLEA Commander listed drugs seized to include: Cocaine 9.873, Psychotropic substances 66.488, Ephedrine 3, Cannabinol product 1277.4, Cannabis 26.760 and Methamphetamine 1.640, totaling 1385.661.
He also revealed that from April to date, the Command arrested 19 suspected drug traffickers, made up of 17 males and two females.
Further breakdown indicated that the Command in March arrested 4 traffickers with 4 seizures, was on the last flight before the lockdown, April, none, May 5 arrest and 2 seizures, June 6 arrest and 3 seizures, July 3 arrest and 2 seizures, and August 1 arrest and 1 seizure.