Two crew members of Airk Air were on Monday arrested by the United Kingdom Border Force for being in possession of substances suspected to be cocaine.
A statement by the Head of Press and Public Affairs Section, British High Commission, Rob Fitzpatrick, on Tuesday confirmed the arrest of the crew members.
He said, “The two, Nigerian women aged 37 and 32, who worked for the airline Arik Air, had arrived on a flight from Lagos, Nigeria on the evening of Monday, May 20.
“They were arrested after a package of drugs was discovered by Border Force officers on a bus which had been used to transport air crew.
“It is estimated that the cocaine, if cut and sold on the UK streets, could have had a potential street value of around £600,000.
“The pair remain in Border Force custody where they will be questioned further.”
The statement quoted Border Force Heathrow Director, Marc Owen, as saying, “Border Force officers at Heathrow are at the forefront of the fight to stop class A drugs reaching UK streets and harming our communities.
“Drug trafficking is a serious offence and those convicted face long prison sentences.”
Meanwhile, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency on Tuesday said it was investigating the arrest of the crew members.
A statement by the anti-narcotics agency said its Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ahmadu Giade, ordered the investigation.
The statement quoted the Head, Public Affairs, NDLEA, Mr. Mitchell Ofoyeju, as saying the crew members, Temitayo Daramola and Delita Abibimgbi, were found in possession of six kilogrammes of cocaine and 60 packets of cigarettes respectively.
The Arik Air flight reportedly took off from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos on Monday.
The statement added that eight of the 10-crew members in the aircraft were cleared, while the remaining two were still being held in London.
It said, “We have received report of the arrest and I have ordered a full scale investigation of the incident. Anyone found wanting shall be brought to book as no effort shall be spared in protecting the image of our country”.
In its reaction, a statement by the Arik Air Communications Manager, Mr. Adebanji Ola, quoted the airline as saying it was cooperating with the authorities on the matter.
Ola said, “The attention of the management of Arik Air has been drawn to the detention in UK of two of its cabin crew members in connection with alleged possession of items suspected to be banned substances.”