The Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said she did not accuse the Ethiopian and Egyptian airlines of running drug cartels in the nation’s airports.
Dabiri-Erewa had on Wednesday appeared before the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on the plight of Zainab Habibu Aliyu, who was arrested by Saudi Arabian Police for a drug-related offence.
She had expressed worry that the two airlines were not doing enough to check the activities of drug cartels operating in the nation’s airport.
She had also expressed concerns over the alleged non-functionality of the scanners at the airports.
She had said, “To start with, the airlines I am sorry to say, in most cases we investigated, only two airlines have been involved; Ethiopian air and Egypt air, never Bellview, never Saudi Air, never KABO, never Emirates, no other airline.
“All the cases have either been Ethiopian Airline or Egypt Airline. So those two airlines have to ensure compulsory baggage identification, everybody going on that route, you must ensure every passenger identifies their bags.
“If they don’t do that don’t carry those bags. There are cartels inside there working on these things.”
But Dabiri-Erewa, in a statement on Thursday by her media aide, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, distanced herself from newspaper headlines quoting her of accusing some foreign airlines of running drug cartels in the country.
Dabiri -Erewa, according to the statement, described “the headline which reads “Egypt, Ethiopian Airlines Running Drug Cartels in Nigeria” as a figment of the Reporter’s imagination.
The statement further read, “The headline is totally incorrect and not a true reflection of what she said during the Senate committee public hearing chaired by Senator Kabiru Gaya on Wednesday.
“Dabiri-Erewa had during the hearing stressed the need for those two airlines to ensure compulsory baggage identification as all cases recorded on the issue of drugs had been from both airlines.
“Luckily enough, the representative of Ethiopian Air, who was at the public hearing, promised that baggage identification would be strengthened.
“The Senate public hearing was geared towards probing the circumstances surrounding the framing and eventual arrest of Zainab Aliyu in Saudi Arabia over allegation of carrying tramadol in her baggage.
“Members of the public are hereby urged to discountenance a previous publication that is contrary to this clarification.”