Gentlemen of the Press, on behalf of the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), I welcome you all, to this press conference, which we plan to reach out to the general public through you specifically stakeholders in managing, patronizing, and working for all purposes in Mal Aminu Kano International Airport.
You may recall that sometimes last month, the case of one Zainab Aliyu a student of Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano who arrested sometimes in December, 2018 in Medina for allegedly owning a luggage that contained some drugs suspected to be Tramadol Tables which is prohibited by the Laws of Saudi Arabia and she remained there in castration till April this year, when the clamour from her family and well wishers and investigations by the National Drugs Laws Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Mal Aminu Kano International Airport revealed that the said luggage although tagged in Zainab’s name, it did not belong to her. Rather, some unscrupulous people, working in the airport used the particulars of Zainab and her remaining luggage entitlement, allowed by the airline to check in luggage that contained hard drugs which led to her arrest.
This incidence revealed to us that, there are possibly many Nigerians, innocently implicated by these group of miscreants may be languishing in detention, or some might have even paid the supreme sacrifice either here in Nigeria or outside the country.
For example, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency revealed that it arrested 93 passengers in 2018. A breakdown shows that 77 males and 16 females were involved. From January to April 2019, 30 passengers were caught, among whom were 25 males and 5 females. Statistics also indicate that 22 arrests were made from inbound while 51 were for outbound flights. From January 2019 to April, the agency made 4 inbound and 19 outbound arrests at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos
It is in view of this that we want use this medium to reach out to specifically call on:
- National Drugs Laws Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to intensify their search and surveillance of passengers’ luggage and the environments during boarding and ensure that no luggage is tempered with after the legal owner has checked it in and no luggage escape the screening process matter who brings the luggage or owns it.
- The airliners should make sure that all handled to them by the passengers are put under effective care that nobody will temper with them and punish or report to the appropriate agencies any of their staff or of the companies they contacted in packaging luggage found tempering or inserting something into passengers’ luggage.
- The airport authorities should endeavour to provide all the needed equipment that will help the security personals in the airport to work in accordance with international air travel standards so as to minimize such case.
- The passengers on their own side need to arrive the airport early so as to reduce the congestion during boarding which often deter the security personnel in the airport to work diligently. They should also be extra conscious that they do not take any luggage from another fellow passenger nor give their luggage to any other passengers. Passengers should also avoid giving their luggage space to any agent or fello passengers in the event they don’t have unused luggage allowance to check.
- The Corporate Affairs Commission as well as the union of travelling agencies should partners together to fish out travelling agencies that cheat ignorant passengers in the process of their business and delist them if they do not comply with warnings and standard of operations.
- FAAN must be on its feet to make all airliners stick to the operational guidelines and ensure that the airport is up standard to enable all personnel working in the airport have the required facilities and equipment to do their working diligently.
- The Media should partners with all stakeholders in taking travelling and airport operational guidelines to the public so that the people at the grassroots especially are aware about them and help to ensure that miscreants do not continue to manipulate ignorance of the guidelines to implicate them in the act.
While we thank the National Drugs Laws Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Mal. Aminu Kano International Airport Unit for the role they played in investigating and apprehending the mischief makers that put Zainab into this act without her knowledge, we want to use this opportunity to call on the judiciary, particularly the judges handling this case to bring all those who have hand in the matter to books so as to serve as deterrent to others.
Senior Programmes Officer
Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD)