Air Peace released a press statement, yesterday, confirming that there was, indeed, a security breach on one of its aircraft at the Muritala Muhammed Airport earlier this week in Lagos.
Earlier reports about the security breach had circulated across social media on Friday, December 27th, with many of the reports saying that a man was seen climbing the plane as it moved along the tarmac in preparation for takeoff.
Air Peace has now confirmed this incident. In the statement, which was released via Twitter shortly after the incident, Air Peace said the man emerged from the surrounding bushes and tried to gain access to the moving plane “through the wheel-well”.
Apparently, it was a pilot in a private jet who noticed what was going on and quickly radioed to inform the pilot of the Owerri-bound Air Peace plane.
Subsequently, security officials at the airport were informed of this development, even as they quickly intervened. The intruder, described to be in his early twenties, was then arrested and detained. The statement went further to disclose that the man told officials he thought the plane was flying overseas. In other words, he was trying to stow-away with the hopes of landing in London or New York.
PRESS STATEMENT (27-12-2019) pic.twitter.com/gLNNYm1rB9
— Air Peace (@flyairpeace) December 27, 2019
While an investigation into this incident is reportedly ongoing, it is important to point out that incidents of security breaches at Nigeria’s airports are fast becoming a worrisome trend. Earlier in July, a dramatic video was circulated online showing the moment another desperate young man tried to stow-away in another plane belonging to Azman Air. The fact that the man even got close to the plane is what troubled many of those who watched.
A worrisome trend: Also recall that in December 2017, two of Nigeria’s biggest pop sensations – Tiwa Savage and Wizkid, were ambushed at the Lagos airport as their private landed there in the night. The celebrities recounted how the dramatic incident unfolded quickly, even as they lost many valuable items in the process.
This, therefore, underscores the need for the authorities to become more proactive in making sure that security is guaranteed at the airports.
In the meantime, we cannot disregard the reason many people are risking their lives trying to stow-away on planes. A lot of Nigerians are impoverished and desperate to leave the country, with hopes of finding better opportunities elsewhere.
While we understand the desperation, it is important to highlight the risks of stowing away on an aircraft. The most serious and obvious risk is the possibility of falling to one’s death. This is understandable because the plane is high up there in the sky, and the stow-away is practically clinging to parts of the plane, with literally not enough balance.
Other risks include being exposed to severe elements, no thanks to the high altitude. There could be breathing problems, a buildup of acids in body fluids which could cause coma or death, extreme cold, hearing loss, and more danger.
A recent article by the BBC found that stowaways usually end up being dead. Unfortunately, this dangerous possibility does not quite deter potential stowaways.