Sunday, 25 August 2013

Teenager Flies Arik Air, From Benin To Lagos, Hiding In A Tyre

Surprising how a teenager, identified as Daniel Ihekina, outsmarted security operatives at the Benin airport en route to Lagos via Arik Air.

Daniel Ihekina, reportedly sneaked into the tyre compartment  of a Lagos- bound Arik Aircraft with registeration number 5N-MJG, Flight 44, which left the Benin Airport around 9am on Saturday Morning  for Lagos.The Aircraft was said have on board top officials of the Edo State Government.

This actually has made bare the porosity in the airport with respect to safety of passengers and also undermined the effectiveness of security operatives at the airport.

The situation, which now is a major concern in the aviation sector has also resulted to blames trade between the management of Arik Air and FAAN .

FAAN, in a statement on Saturday, said it held “Arik Air liable for the circumstances leading to the stowaway of a teenage boy on its aircraft at the Benin Airport.”

In a statement signed by Dati, FAAN, said
, “Arik Air acted with impunity by not stopping the aircraft to check when the crew and ground personnel’s attention was drawn to an abnormality on the tarmac.”

According to the FAAN spokesman, the procedure for such infraction is for the crew to abort the flight and return to the apron for check-up.

He blamed the airline for the alleged impunity, warning that the airport authority would not tolerate such infraction from any operator.

He said, “This is arrant display of impunity. The aircraft should not have taxied
further, but return to the apron until a proper check is carried out on all parts of the aircraft. FAAN will not tolerate such impunity henceforth from Arik or any airline. Any violation would be met with applicable sanctions.

Dati, however, said the teenager was already giving useful information to unravel this ‘misnomer.’

In a counter, Arik, in a statement, blamed FAAN for the huge breach in security, noting that the incessant cases of security breaches at the nation’s airport had become a major source of concern to the airline.

The statement quoted Arik’s Managing Director, Mr. Chris Ndulue, as saying, “We are worried by the incessant security lapses at our airports. We are appealing to the management of FAAN to immediately address the problem.

“The management of Arik Air has expressed shock over the incident, wondering how the teenager beat the aviation security personnel at the Benin Airport to get to the runway.”

Arik said its pilot had reported to the control tower the presence of a strange boy in the bush about 200 – 300 metres at the end of runway before leaving the airport

Ndulue said the control tower had told its pilot that they were sending security men to the place to arrest the boy.

Ndulue, however, said, “As the captain was making his final turn, preparatory for take-off, a cabin crew called his attention to the information by some of the passengers that they saw a boy running towards the airplane. The First Officer confirmed that they had observed it earlier and alerted the control tower which responded that they had sent the patrol team to arrest the boy. The captain again reported to the control tower and was informed that the situation was under control and that he had been cleared for take-off.

“On arrival at the domestic wing of MMA, Lagos, a teenage boy, who apparently had sneaked into the aircraft main wheel well jumped out and was arrested by Arik personnel and handed over to FAAN security.”

A passenger aboard the flight, who spoke with Sunday Punch on the telephone said, “We felt the signs in Benin when the plane was about leaving and as it was moving slowly, we heard a loud noise as if the tyre crushed somebody on the ground and we all started shouting. It means the boy was already inside that tyre compartment before we left. We left for Lagos, but when we landed at Lagos Airport, the boy came out from the tyre hole, everybody started shouting.

“But speaking seriously, this shows that we have a serious problem as regards securing our airports. This is a serious security breach. If that boy was carrying bomb, it means he would have succeeded in blowing up the plane. How can somebody be in an aircraft without being detected; we are in trouble in this country.”

Though no official at the Benin Airport volunteered comment on the issue, it was gathered that the teenager may have gained entrance into the airport from the Akenzua road axis, where perimeter fencing is non-existent at different points.

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