I’m tired of Nigeria, 14-year-old Lagos stowaway says

Published:

By Wole Oyebade

06 September 2022   |   2:56 am

Preliminary investigation of a stowaway arrested at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, has hinted that the move was motivated by the frustration of living in Nigeria.

Murtala Muhammed Internatıonal Aırport, Lagos.

Preliminary investigation of a stowaway arrested at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, has hinted that the move was motivated by the frustration of living in Nigeria.

  

The Guardian learnt that the 14-year-old boy, identified as Rasheed Mufutau, had hopped into the wheel well of a packed aircraft belonging to the United Nigeria Airline (UNA), with the hope of landing overseas.

 

The stowaway phenomenon is global. Findings showed that from 1947 until September 2012, there were 96 known stowaway attempts worldwide in wheel wells of 85 separate flights, which resulted in 73 deaths with only 23 survivors.

 

Head of Corporate Communications, Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operator of the MMA2 terminal, Oluwatosin Onalaja, disclosed that the 14-year-old, found unconscious on Sunday morning, had been resuscitated and now in the custody of the airport authority, where he was being held for further investigation.

 

According to Onalaja, the boy told investigators that he gained access into the airside through an opening at Ile-Zik, FAAN’s perimeter fence along Lagos-Abeokuta expressway.

 

“The invader said he was tired of the country and wanted to travel out,” Onalaja said. He explained that around 6:10a.m. on Sunday, United Nigeria Airline informed BASL of a stowaway found unconscious in one of their aircraft.  

 

“The boy was brought out of the aircraft and taken to the MMA2 clinic for first aid medical attention. He was later transferred for further treatment at the FAAN clinic where he regained consciousness around 10:20a.m,” he said.

 

Further interrogation confirmed that Mufutau hails from Kwara State but lives in Badagry. He is an orphan.

 

“His intention was to travel, as he was tired of the country. He passed through the General Aviation Terminal, Air Force hanger and walked down to MMA2 where he hid himself at the apron. He saw staff on duty at GAT and Air Force hangar but dodged them and passed through the bush. He became unconscious as a result of the drugs he took and a lack of ventilation,” Onalaja stated.

The boy has been discharged from the hospital and taken to the FAAN Crime Office at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) along with United Nigeria Security Guard for further questioning.

 

Poor perimeter security at a number of airports globally makes it easier for people to stowaway on planes.

Stowaways in aircraft wheel wells face numerous health risks airborne, many of which are fatal. They include being mangled when the undercarriage retracts, tinnitus, deafness, hypothermia, hypoxia, frostbite, acidosis and finally falling when the doors of the compartment reopen.

  

The latest incident in Lagos came some months after a mangled body was found on the international runway of the Lagos airport.

 

Similarly, a lifeless body of a stowaway was on November 30, 2016, found in the main wheel well of one of Arik Air’s A330-200 aircraft on landing at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport. The aircraft had departed Lagos Airport for South Africa.

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