Zainab Aliyu’s ordeals resonate calls for improved measures to tackling drug trafficking at Nigerian airports

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After putting so much hard work into his spare parts business at ASPAMDA market, Lagos, Chukwuemeka (not real name) still fed from hand to mouth. The business environment seemed rather hostile for him to break even. Rather than making gains, he discovered he started eating into his capital, then he thought it was time to seek other legitimate means to earn a decent living.

So, it was with excitement and optimism that he received the ‘good’ news that his uncle would love to sponsor him to Indonesia to hustle and earn something reasonable. Being an orphan, he thought this was God’s way of compensating him for his losses.

He had set out for the journey with his luggage, including one given to him by his uncle to help deliver to a friend at Indonesia. Getting to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) with his uncle to bid him farewell, he was met by security agents and at every point his uncle would tip officials with a sum of N1,000 to N3,000, just to ensure his nephew isn’t searched.

At some point, Chukwuemaka had to ask his uncle why he didn’t just allow the security officials search him, rather than waste money at multiple security points, just to avoid search. His uncle grinned, tapped his shoulders and said, ‘Son, you won’t understand. In any case, I won’t want to stress you at all. It could be tiring having to bring out everything inside your bag just for search purpose.’

After getting through the Lagos airport, Chukwuemeka arrived Indonesia airport. While waiting in the queue to pass through the immigration, his name was called out at the terminal for questioning and he innocently rushed out.

This was where his trouble began. The bag his uncle gave him … Read More...