The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has conducted random alcohol and drug tests on 87 licensed aviation personnel in the industry.
The General Manager, Public Relations, NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, who stated this on Monday in Lagos, said the exercise was in compliance to a directive from the agency’s Director-General, Captain Muhtar Usman.
Adurogboye in a statement said the test was duly communicated in an Advisory Circular NCAA – AMS – 004, titled: “Drugs and Alcohol Policy for Air Operators Certificate holders, Air Navigation Service Providers and other aviation stakeholders,” issued to the stakeholders in the industry on July 1, 2016.
According to the NCAA, 87 personnel from Air Peace, Medview Airline and Air Traffic Controllers from the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency were tested.
Adurogboye said that they were randomly tested as they were about to embark on flight operations and air traffic control duties.
Adurogboye said 10 pilots and 19 cabin crew were tested from Air Peace, while nine pilots and 32 cabin crew were tested from Medview Airline.
He said the other 10 were from NAMA’s Air Traffic Controllers and six trainees from the Control Tower and TRACON Centre.
He said: “However, out of the 87 personnel tested, only one crew member tested positive to psychoactive substance, Tetrahydro – Cannabinol (Marijuana) and was immediately suspended by the Authority from carrying out further flight operations.
“NCAA carried out other investigations on the crew member to ascertain the quantity of the substance on the urine sample of the respondent.
“Quite clearly, the crew member violated the provisions of Part 18.104.22.168. (a) and Part 22.214.171.124(a) (3) of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs 2015).”
Adurogboye said the NCAA had, therefore, sanctioned the offending aircrew member in accordance with Part 126.96.36.199(f) (i) and Part 188.8.131.52(c) of Nig.CARs 2015.
According to him, the Medical Certificate and Licence of the aircrew member had been suspended for 180 days with effect from April 5.
He said: “Accordingly, the respondent shall cease to exercise the privileges of the Licence for the period of his suspension.
“In addition, the crew member shall within seven days of receipt of Letter of Sanction, hand over the Licence to the NCAA’s Director of Licensing.
“The aircrew member shall undergo a comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation for psychoactive substance abuse during the suspension period under the care of a consultant psychiatrist.
“At the end, the report of the Consultant Psychiatrist shall be reviewed by the authority’s consultant psychiatrist adviser.
“This is to enable the NCAA consider possible restoration of the suspended medical certificate and licence.”
Adurogboye said the random drug and alcohol tests for licensed aviation personnel would be carried out periodically.
He said this is to rid the industry of menace of crew members and ATCs conducting flight operations under the influence of psychoactive substance which could jeopardise flight safety.
Adurogboye said the exercise was conducted by medical assessors from the Aeromedical Department of the NCAA.
The spokesperson said the NCAA would continue to carry out consistent surveillance on the aviation industry to ensure full compliance with extant regulation, adding that failure would attract adequate sanction.