It has been reported that a teenager successfully flew from Benin to Lagos in an Arik plane tyre compartment. He boarded the Arik Aircraft 5N-MJG, Flight 44 undetected by airport securities at Benin airport and sneaked into the tyre compartment of the Lagos-bound plane, where he flew safely to the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, on Saturday morning.
Passengers disembarking from the plane where shocked when they saw the boy coming out from the tyre compartment of the plane.
However, the teenager who was identified as Daniel Ihekina was immediately arrested by security officials at the Murtala Muhammed Airport.
In a statement reacting to the incident, Arik’s Managing Director, Mr. Chris Ndulue, said, “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.”
Spokesman for the company, Mr Banji Ola, said : ”The pilot of Arik Air flight W3 544, departing Benin Airport for Lagos at 9.00am today (yesterday) 24th August, 2013 reported to the control tower the presence of a strange boy in the bush about 200 – 300 metres at the end of runway 23.
“The control tower told the captain that they were sending security men to the place to arrest the boy. 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 have 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.”
The General Manager, Corporate Communications, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Yakubu Dati, said full and urgent investigation had commenced into the mysterious circumstances that led to the huge breach in airport and airline security.
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.
“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.
“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,” said Dati.
Dati, however, said the teenager was already giving useful information to unravel this ‘misnomer.’
The Arik aircraft with registration number, 5N-MJG Flight 44, which left the Benin Airport around 9am for Lagos, was said to have on board top officials of the Edo State Government.