Nigerian teenage stowaway Daniel Ihekina, who flew in the wheel well of a domestic flight from the southern city of Benin to the economic capital city of Lagos Saturday, thought the plane was flying to the US.
Ihekina was arrested and detained when he alighted from the tyre compartment of the Arik Air plane after it landed in Lagos at the end of its 30-minute flight.
“From what we heard, the boy said he was being maltreated and tried to escape from his parents. He thought he was on his way to the US,” the private Punch newspaper Monday quoted sources at the Benin Airport, where the boy originated his journey, as
“The parents have travelled to Lagos by road, to get him back,” the sources said.
In the meantime, the boy has been handed over to the State Security Services for further investigation.
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the management of the airline, Nigeria’s largest, have been trading blames over the incident, which has once again raised fears over the security at the country’s 22 airports.
While FAAN said the pilot of the plane should have aborted his takeoff plans after he was informed by a passenger that a boy who was seen approaching the plane later disappeared, Arik Air believed it was up to the security agencies at the airport to prevent such incursions.
Several stowaway as well as airport incursion cases have been recorded at the country’s airports, with most of them blamed on the absence of perimeter fencing at the airports.
FAAN spokesman Yakubu Dati said on Sunday that the agency had prioritised the perimeter fencing of all the 22 airports in the country.
“In the meantime, we have adopted risk amelioration processes to safeguard flight operations. As a result of this incident in Benin, we have further tightened our risk amelioration procedure to ensure that a similar incident does not occur,” he said.