Emirates Diverts to Nigeria for Cocaine Emergency, Other Passengers Drug Tested

Friday’s Emirates flight from Sao Paulo to Dubai diverted to Lagos, Nigeria for a medical emergency.

Goodness knows if I was the passenger with a medical emergency, I’d nope to be nearer someplace other than Lagos for treatment — but indeed the route from Sao Paulo doesn’t really provide better options.

The man “complained of severe abdominal pains and later suffered three recurrent seizures” and was hospitalized once on the ground as a result of ingesting cocaine.

I certainly hope the passenger recovers. Media reported that doctors were ‘fighting to save his life.’

Most disturbing to me, though, is that reports on the passenger’s condition are coming from Nigeria’s National Drug Law Enforcement Agency and that “four other passengers tested positive for narcotic ingestion” and were detained.

In the midst of a medical emergency, other passengers were being given drug tests.

Emirates 777 Copyright:TEA / 123RF Stock Photo

Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah, the Chairman and Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, “called for stiffer penalty against drug trafficking.”

Although to believe that passengers on a flight from Sao Paulo to Dubai were trafficking drugs into Nigeria one would have to believe that the medical emergency was contrived with the intention of forcing a diversion because Nigeria is otherwise so difficult to get into.

“NDLEA is taking necessary measures to protect and promote the image of Nigeria and will resist any attempt to undermine the gains so far recorded in the fight against drug control. Drug traffickers must be severely punished to reduce the number of persons getting involved in the criminal act. All hands must be on deck to condemn drug trafficking in its entirety,” Abdallah said.

LEADERSHIP Sunday recalls that the NDLEA has beamed its search light on flights originating from Brazil and Dubai in recent times because of its notoriety in cocaine trafficking.

Drugs are far more likely to be smuggled out of Nigeria to Dubai than for a Dubai-bound passenger to try to get their drugs into Nigeria.

It seems like this should be treated as a medical emergency, not an attempt to round up additional suspects or an opportunity to grandstand against drugs.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I totally disagree with you. I you are trafficking drugs from Country A to Country C, and your itinerary is re-routed for some reason so that you land in Country C, then you are liable to be prosecuted there for trafficking drugs into Country C. It’s one of the risks you take when you fly with a stomach full of cocaine.

  2. Curious as to your u think they can’t treat this as a medical emergency, which they did when they sent him to the hospital after diverting flight, and also round up some more suspect then finish it off with some grandstanding against drugs? Sounds like someone’s upset that there isn’t enuff cocaine making it to Dubai. Me thinks Gary Leif protests too much. Lol just poking fun please don’t get button hurt by this, just saying

  3. GRU is a huge gateway for drugs coming from Colombia and Bolivia into Europe and Middle East. Everyday you will find news about passengers caught by x-Ray system at GRU with packets of drugs in their stomachs.

  4. actually gary the NDLEA is correct in that Dubai is a net EXPORTER of drugs.
    Italy just complained last month of this very same thing: that Dubai is a center of money laundering and drugs are usually how its done hence many countries view arrivals from Dubai as a reason to conduct secondary screening.
    let me emphasize that drugs are NOT originating from Dubai itself but Dubai is used as the transit point from Asia/central Asian nations via Dubai to the West.
    This is the price you pay unfortunately when you center yourself as a ‘gateway’ for all.

  5. Oliver Giroud has come under fire from Arsenal fans and pundits alike in his four years as the Gunners main striker, but especially

  6. “Colonel Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah”. Oh yeah, there’s a winner right there. Must be totally trustworthy.

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