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Lawmakers ask NCAA to test pilots for alcohol, drugs

Lawmakers ask NCAA to test pilots for alcohol, drugs

- Pilots in Nigeria have been warned against the use of alcohol or drug before flying

- The House of Representatives has also asked aviation agency to test the pilots and other crew members before each flight

- The lawmakers said psychoactive substances are capable of altering the moods of the crew

Members of the House of Representatives on Thursday, July 19, urged the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to begin alcohol and drug test for pilots before flight take-off.

Punch reports that the lawmakers said the test should be conducted regularly to ensure that the pilots and crew members are not under the influence of any kind of substance.

In a motion raised by a member of the House, Taofeek Adaranijo, said alcohol and other psychoactive substances are capable of altering the moods of the crew.

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Adaranijo said pre-flight alcohol consumption, apart from being a breach of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations, also constituted a serious safety threat to passengers.

He said: “In December 2016, the NCAA suspended the medical certificates of five members of the crew, who tested positive to marijuana during a drug screening conducted on participants of the Cabin Crew Training Basic Course at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, Kaduna state.

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“When the NCAA in May 2017 conducted random tests on 87 personnel from Air Peace, Med-View and Air Traffic Controllers of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency as they were about to embark upon flight operations and air traffic control duties, a member of the crew tested positive to a psychoactive substance, Tetrahydrocannabinol.

“The substance is known to be the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects.

“Psychoactive drugs work by manipulating the synapses in-between nerves in the central nervous system, thereby distorting thought processes and causing a variety of side effects such as anxiety, psychosis, mood swings, depression and sleep problems, all of which are not suitable for the job demands of pilots/members of crew."

The lawmaker also said that crew member require the highest level of clarity in the mind in order to fly safely.

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The House further asked airline operators to diligently ensure that only sober pilots/members of crew are allowed to fly their planes and this diligence should extend to the initial period of employment.

Meanwhile, previously reported that the federal government had announced its plan to intensify surveillance on airlines across the country.

The NCAA said the checks by the agency is due to the recent incidents in the sector which are raising safety concerns among Nigerians

The agency also said it has deepened its oversight on the airlines with a view to ensuring that no stone is left unturned in their safety programmes.

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