After the fourth crew member of Arik Air has been arrested in London for drug trafficking, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NEMA, has begun investigation into the airlines’ operations.
The probe came as Arik Air confirmed yesterday that its crew member was arrested at Heathrow Airport, London by the United Kingdom Border Force in connection with alleged possession of items suspected to be banned substances.
In a statement, NDLEA Chairman, Mr. Ahmadu Giade, said the “full scale”‎ investigation was designed to unmask those behind the act.
The suspect, Chika Udensi, an air steward with Arik Air, was on Monday found with 20 kilogrammes of substances confirmed to be cocaine at Heathrow Airport.
The National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom notified the NDLEA of the arrest.
Giade said: “We shall work with our international collaborators on the matter. Arik Airline will be sanctioned if found wanting.”
Nigerian Pilot recalls that a cabin crew member of Arik Air, 29, Chiwendu Ogbonaya was arrested and jailed for two years in London for drug trafficking while another two crew members of the airline were also arrested in London in May 2013 for drug trafficking.
Mr. Giade said that the anti-narcotics agency would‎ invoke Section 25 of the NDLEA Act against Arik Airline.
The latest suspect is said to be cooperating with the UK Border Force on his alleged involvement in the crime.
In a reaction to the incident, the management of the airline said that it is carrying out its private investigation to determine how the cabin crew member came about the substance.
Arik Air pledged to cooperate with the UK authorities and other appropriate agencies in their investigations.
It reaffirmed its commitment to the fight against drug and illicit substances trafficking, stressing that it will not tolerate the use of any of its aircraft or crew for the courier of banned items and substances.
The Public Relations and Communications Manager of Arik Air, Mr. Banji Ola, said that the organisation carries out stringent checks on all members of staff and its travelling guests ahead of all flights.
He said: “The airline will continue to focus its attention on measures to prevent similar incidents in future.