Nigerian Aviation Handling Company, NAHCO Plc, said it is cooperating fully with the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, concerning the recently drug issues of some of its staff at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, NAIA, Abuja.
This is as the ground-handling agency insisted that it is not losing clients to a rival company as claimed in some quarters.
Speaking with aviation correspondents yesterday at the company’s headquarters at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, MMA, Lagos, Managing Director of NAHCO, Mr. Norbert Bielderman, said the company has zero tolerance for all vices and criminal tendencies.
It would be recalled that NDLEA had last week disclosed the arrest of four NAHCO staff over their involvement in an attempt to smuggle 144kgof ephedrine to Maputo, Mozambique.
The NDLEA also said that the fifth suspect, Victor Ahenje, a Load Controller who was also linked with the crime was on the run.
Bielderman explained that its recruitment process and background checks on new employees were constantly being reviewed, stressing that there was no way drugs would have entered the airport without the connivance of government agencies at the airport.
He said, “The screening process is such that for any shipment to be exported, the Customs, NDLEA, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN security and others, must have screened it. Even, the airlines’ security staff would also have conducted necessary checks.
“So, for there to be a breach of security that would have resulted in loading drugs into a plane, then one or two of the agencies must have been involved.
To single out NAHCO staff for worldwide mention therefore, is tantamount to looking for a soft target.”
Bielderman declared that it was not losing any of its businesses to its rival, rather it has been getting some new clients in recent time.
On the loss of Ethiopian Airlines cargo, Bielderman explained that the airline had a global GSSA agreement with DHL, which meant that all cargoes on the airline were being handled by DHL on behalf of Ethiopian Airlines cargoes.
“What this means is that all cargoes on Ethiopian are being handled by DHL on behalf of Ethiopian Airlines cargoes,” he said.
He however lamented that the economic recession was affecting the performance of the company as some of the airlines, it hitherto handled, had either collapsed operations or reduced frequencies in the country.
He decried that its revenues and profits of 2016 had dropped when compared to 2015, noting that the company was looking for additional source of revenues to boost its operations.
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