Stowaway: Unaddressed safety breaches put travellers in danger

Following the invention of a stowaway on the Lagos airport, consultants within the aviation sector have stated the failure to deal with safety breaches at airports throughout Nigeria poses a risk to passenger security.

These considerations are coming after United Airways on Sunday reported a 14-year-old stowaway was present in its parked plane on the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal 2 (MMA2).

The stowaway had defined that he gained entry into the airside by means of a gap at ‘Ile- Zik’ space of the Lagos airport perimeter fence alongside Lagos-Abeokuta expressway.

The invader, who gave his identify as Rasheed Mufutau, stated he was “uninterested in the nation and wished to journey out.”

Olumide Ohunayo, an aviation analyst, instructed BusinessDay that the incident confirmed there have been safety gaps on the Lagos airport that needs to be closed.

“Stowaway is a serious downside for the aviation trade and each nation has had this downside because the early days of aviation. The USA has been in a position to tighten safety in all of the layers to cease stowaways. Even with that, floor staff go to select up parked plane on the air facet, fly it and crash land, which is much more harmful,” Ohunayo stated.

He stated Sunday’s incident was the newest in a sequence of stowaway circumstances within the nation and needs to be addressed, particularly at a time when the nation is confronted with insecurity challenges.

He stated: “This could open our eyes to see that we nonetheless have to tighten safety across the airport premises. The perimeter fences needs to be upgraded and the CCTV digital camera that’s supposed to observe the runway and the tarmac needs to be functioning and monitored recurrently. I imagine if somebody had seen the stowaway, this wouldn’t have occurred.

“If the trendy CCTV digital camera sees an infraction, it provides a pink beep and it gained’t go unnoticed. Now we have to just accept {that a} 14-year previous has breached our safety on the air facet and this time round, we have to take a look at the best way to tighten safety on the air facet in all airports in Nigeria.”

On March 6, 2021, gunmen attacked Kaduna Airport employees residing on the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) quarters and reportedly kidnapped 9 individuals. The bandits had been stated to have gained entry to the residential quarters by means of the airport runway at evening.

Barely two weeks after the March 6 incident, there was one other try by armed bandits to kidnap aviation staff residing within the employees quarters of FAAN on the Kaduna airport however it was foiled by the army. The bandits once more gained entry into the quarters by means of the runways 23 and 05.

In March 2022, gunmen attacked Kaduna airport, killing the guard on the web site of Very excessive frequency Omni-directional Vary (VOR), a navigational aids gear belonging to the Nigerian Airspace Administration Company (NAMA). The assault prevented clean take-off of flights as employees scampered for security.

In November 2016, a dull physique of an unidentified stowaway was present in the primary wheel effectively of one among Arik Air’s A330-200 plane on the Oliver Tambo Worldwide Airport, Johannesburg.

The airline had then stated this discovery made it the third useless stowaways which have been discovered on the airline’s plane starting from 2012, 2015 and 2016.

The Arik plane operated the scheduled Lagos-Johannesburg flight that departed the worldwide wing of the Murtala Muhammed Worldwide Airport (MMIA), Lagos at 3: 55pm on November 29, 2016 and arrived in Johannesburg shortly earlier than 11pm. After the plane landed, the engineers on the airport the place the plane was scheduled for a routine upkeep test found the physique of the stowaway throughout inspection section.

Learn additionally: How 14-year-old stowaway accessed the airside regardless of safety at Lagos airport

There have additionally been stowaways by means of the fence at Benin airport previously.

“I’ve repeatedly stated that the airport perimeter fences (Annex 14) aren’t safety fences (Annex 17). We have to improve or improve most airports perimeter fences that are principally porus to safety fences. The 23km perimeter fence of the MMA severely must be safety enhanced to cease the incessant incursions into the airport,” John Ojikutu, aviation safety guide and secretary common of the Aviation Security Spherical Desk Initiative, instructed BusinessDay.

“Most city and personal buildings across the airport have exceeded the bounds allowed to be closed to the perimeter fence. Among the buildings are even utilizing the fence not as their fences too however as a part of their buildings. The minimal allowed together with the roads shoulders is 6m. The shoulder of the Lagos-Abeokuta highway to the fence is far lower than the 6m,” he stated.

Ojikutu stated there have been a number of incursions and stowaways at MMIA, one among which occurred on KLM within the early 90s beneath the plane undercarriage at Lagos airport on a flight scheduled for Amsterdam, though the stowaway survived and was introduced again.

He recalled one other stowaway on an Egyptian airline (Dakar to Lagos) who didn’t survive.

“There was one other on British Airways (London to New York) however loads of naira was discovered on him. It was believed he was a Nigerian probably on a earlier flight from Lagos to London; he didn’t survive the flight. We had one in early 20s from Benin to Lagos and adopted instantly by one other in Lagos, each survived,” he stated.

Ojikutu stated in any case these experiences, one would count on the evaluations of the Airport Safety Programme and the Airways Safety Programme and if doable, the Nationwide Civil Aviation Safety Programmes.

“I strongly imagine that these are very essential particularly now that the nation is within the midst of assorted threats coming from many instructions that can’t be discerned by our safety and intelligence companies,” the safety professional stated.

He stated there’s a want for the NCAA to assessment the Airport Safety Programme of MMIA, MMA2 and the United Airways Safety Programme, including that an incursion into the airport by unauthorised individuals is turning into widespread.

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