By Patrick Aigbokhan
A cabin crew member working with one of the operating airlines in the country has been suspended from operation by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) after testing positive to psychoactive substance, Tetrahydro – Cannabinol (Marijuana).
Sam Adurogboye, NCAA Spokesman, who announced the immediate suspension of the cabin crew member from carrying out further flight operations, also said NCAA carried further investigations to ascertain the quantity of the substance in the urine sample of the crew member.
NCAA recently conducted a random alcohol and drug tests on licensed technical personnel of two airlines and Air Traffic Control of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).
The agency said the objective of the exercise was to ensure safety and that it was directed by the Director General, Capt. Muhtar Usman in compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) regulatory standards.
It stated, “Quite clearly, the crew member violated the provisions of Part 220.127.116.11. (a) and Part 18.104.22.168(a) (3) of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs 2015) NCAA has therefore sanctioned the offending aircrew in accordance with the provisions of Part 22.214.171.124(f) (i) and Part 126.96.36.199(c) of Nig.CARs 2015.
“The Medical Certificate and License of the aircrew has been suspended for 180 days from the 5th day of April, 2017. Accordingly, the respondent shall cease to exercise the privileges of the License for the period of his suspension,” the agency directed.
In addition, NCAA said the crew member “shall within seven days of receipt of Letter of Sanction, hand over the License to the Authority’s Director of Licensing (DOL).”
It said the aircrew “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 NCAA consider possible restoration of the suspended Medical Certificate and License.”
According to the agency, a total of 87 of personnel from two airlines; Air Peace, Medview Airline and Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) were tested and they were randomly tested as they were about to embark on flight operations and air traffic control duties.
“There were 29 pilots 10 and Cabin crew 19 from Air Peace Ltd while 42(nos) Pilots 9 and Cabin crew 32 were from MedviewAirlines.
Those tested include 10 pilots and about 19 cabin crew from Air Peace; nine pilots and about 32 cabin crew from Medview and 16 Air Traffic Controllers from NAMA.
Others were from Air Navigation Service Providers, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA),16 (nos) of licensed Air Traffic Controllers and Trainees. 10 (nos) Licensed ATC and 6 (nos) Trainees are from the Control Tower and TRACON Centre.
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.
The regulatory authority noted that the random drug and alcohol tests for licensed aviation personnel would be carried out periodically 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.
The exercise was conducted by medical assessors from the Aeromedical Department of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).