The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency on Wednesday revealed that available statistics of drug arrests and seizures at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos in the past two years show that arrests increased by 16.22 per cent, while drug seizures decreased by 33.68kg.
The Airport Command noted that about 229 Nigerians were deported on drug related charges.
While the increase in arrest is an indicator that operatives of the NDLEA are becoming more vigilant in arresting drug traffickers, it also highlights the fact that drug traffickers are not learning lessons from the arrest of others.
The increase in the arrest in 2014, after 2013, is also a pointer that there is a steady increase in drug traffickers passing through MMIA.
According to NDLEA spokesman, Mitchel Ofoyeju, the Airport Command of the NDLEA in 2014 apprehended 129 suspected drug traffickers, comprising 118 males and 11 females, with 436.065kg of drugs seizures.
In 2013, the Agency apprehended 93 drug suspects with 878.81kg of narcotics.
The breakdown of the 2014 scorecard indicates that cocaine has the largest quantity with 120.44kg.
Methamphetamine is next with 108.645kg; cannabis sativa, 107.855kg; heroin, 51.01kg; psychotropic substances, 37.285kg; and ephedrine, 10.83kg.
The estimated street value of the seized drugs in 2014 was N2.9 billion.
The NDLEA commander at the Lagos airport, Hamza Umar, said 117 drug suspects were apprehended on 18 Airlines.
Umar said: “More arrests of drug suspects were made on Ethiopian airlines, Emirates, Etihad, South African and Qatar Airways.
“A total of 44 suspects were apprehended trying to import narcotics into the country.
“South Africa, China and United Arab Emirates top the list of preferred destinations by suspects.
“The command received 229 persons who were deported on drug related charges.”
Umar said out of the 229 drug deportees, 39 came from Italy, 37 from United States of America, 36 from Spain, 31 from Norway and 22 from Thailand.
Others are Saudi Arabia, 14; Switzerland, 13; France, seven; United Arab Emirates, five; Greece, four; while Brazil and Sweden deported three persons each.
Australia, India and South Africa deported two persons each, while Cambodia, China, Cyprus, Indonesia, Ireland, Portugal, Turkey Uganda and United Kingdom deported one person each.
Twenty-one arrests were made on Ethiopian Airlines, 17 on Emirates, 12 on Etihad Airways, 11 on South African Airways, 10 on Qatar Airways and seven on Turkish Air.
Air France and Arik Air had two arrests each, Kenyan Airways and Royal Air Maroc recorded five each, while Alitalia and Rwand Air had four arrests each.
Egypt Airline had three arrests, Cargolux two, while Africa World Airline, Iberia, KLM and Lufthansa recorded one arrest each.
Ofoyeju said: “Drug traffickers adopted different modes of drug concealment at the Lagos airport in 2014.
“Those that ingested narcotics were 29, while 88 traffickers hid drugs in their luggage.
“Four of the traffickers were caught in connection with anal ingestion, one female suspect inserted drug in her vagina and one other packed the drug on his body.
“The MMIA command also made the following financial seizures: $24,362, 23,450 Euros, 10,000 Pound Sterling, N240,000, 1,140 South African Rand.
“In addition, 107 ATM cards and 252,500 fake dollars were intercepted.”