Author Topic: Ordeal of a Sunday Tribune Jornalist at MM Int. Airport; Is this Airline safety?  (Read 2851 times)

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Offline usman11

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By Bukola Olajide
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
For Jackson Udom of the Sunday Tribune, life could not be better. An unexpected occurence last week however jolted him to the reality that life may suddenly take a turn for the worse through no fault of anyone. His report.
 
I can’t withstand the sight of blood, and this has often pitched me against my wife, who would always want me to slaughter the chickens brought to the house, especially during Christmas and new year festivities. This is one responsibility I have always delegated to my wife or relatives who come visiting during these periods. What I prefer is to buy frozen chicken from nearby meat shops, and the matter is settled. That is the extent to which I am scared of blood.
 
I have never seen a bomb, because I was not given birth to in a military environment. So, if I come across one, I doubt if I would be able to recognise it before it explodes in my face.
In the same vein, if there is anything I dread, it is travelling by air, not because I cannot afford it, but because of the uncertainty and the risk involved when the things go wrong. You know what I mean? At least if the last day should come, I want it to come when and where my people would see my remains, so as to accord me a burial, befitting my status in my family and village.
 
My fear for air travels was further increased when I remembered how the lives of promising elders and youths, religious leaders and sportsmen had been wasted in plane crashes which occurred in the different parts of the country in the recent past. I cannot forget in a hurry, the death of foremost televangelist, Pastor Bimbo Odukoya, the innocent and promising lives of the Jesuit students that were lost to the Sosoliso plane crash, nor would I forget so soon the Abuja ADC crash that also claimed the lives of prominent Nigerians, including the immediate past Sultan of Sokoto.
 
All these harrowing experiences put together always send shivers down my spine anytime I have to travel out of my base, Ibadan, either on official or personal assignments. In fact, if not for the ‘very many good road networks’ which dot every part of the country, I would always prefer to travel, no matter the distance, by road.
 
On Thursday, 30th April, however, I had cause to travel to my state, Akwa Ibom, on official assignment. I also intended to use the visit to stop by at the Governor’s Office if protocol would allow me to find out what had been done for my people in the last two years to warrant my support and that of my aged mother for his second term ambition which was already hitting the political highway in the state.
 
Before my aborted journey to Akwa Ibom State, I learnt from those who had visited the state that Governor Akpabio, true to his promise, has really confused people like me who seldom visited home, with infrastructural and developmental projects across the three senatorial districts of the state. They even said that with what is on ground in the state, it would be pretty difficult, if not impossible for me to recognise the way to my village; Ikot Akpanya, Asuna, in Etinan Local Government Area.
 
Unfortunately, I could not make the trip home, because of some circumstances beyond my control and the situation I finally found myself, as a result of my inability to make the trip with Arik Airline.
 
At about 2:30 p.m.; last Thursday, 30th April I had taken my seat inside the Arik aircraft flight no W3 505 to Calabar. The Calabar-bound flight was scheduled to take off at 2:45p.m, but at exactly 2: 35pm, my phone rang and the caller simply asked, “ Jackson where are you?” And I replied, “I am already boarding.” And he replied, “I will suggest that you postpone the trip, because I never knew tomorrow (being May Day) is public holiday and we would not be able to do anything because of the holiday until Monday or Tuesday”.
I replied, “ Sir, I am already seated inside the aircraft.” He then said “well, if you want to come over, there is no problem, after all, you are visiting your state, but we will not be able to do anything till Monday,” he declared. Immediately my mind went back to the backlog of unfinished editorial materials on my desk, I decided to disembark from the aircraft.
 
I did not know the security implications of my action, until the obvious happened. I ‘unchained’ myself from the aircraft, picked my Laptop and headed towards the exit door. I was immediately accosted by the airline officials and I told them I was no longer embarking on the journey for the reasons listed above, which I diligently explained to the airline officials on duty at that time. Ignorant of what awaited me, I even asked the officer if I could still use the ticket next week and she replied in the affirmative. I naively thought that was all, until I saw myself in the office of a security officer at the airport. I was led to my supposed ‘Golgotha’ by a dark skinned lady and immediately the door of the security officer was opened and when the man, who I believe hails from the South-Eastern part of the country saw me , he simply said, “Disembarked?” And the lady replied, “Yes, sir!”
The next statement from the officer was that my details should be given to him, while I would remain in detention till the Calabar- bound aircraft land safely. I asked “What for?” And he replied, “You think we don’t know people like you. You have gone in there to plant a bomb and you want us to believe you. You will remain here until we confirm the safe-landing of the aircraft in Calabar.” My reply was spontaneous: “Me, plant bomb? How and why?”
 
At that time, what really came to my mind was Professor Akunyili’s rebranding project of Nigeria and I retorted within me, am I being re-branded? Why re-brand me as a bomb planter? These thoughts and many more ran through my mind, yet, I could not save myself.
 
I began to make calls to those who knew my movement on the fateful day. The first person I called was my immediate boss, Alhaji Debo Abdulai. He picked his phone and the question he asked was, “se oti de Uyo?,” meaning, have you arrived in Uyo? I replied, “Uyo ke,” I am in detention at the airport for disembarking,” and his response was “yeeeh;” I told him,” this is not a matter of yeeh; you are an Alhaji, just begin to pray now for the safety of the aircraft if not, I would be in soup”. The next person I called was my senior boss, Mr Edward Dickson.
 
Like Alhaji Abdulai, he also asked if I had arrived in Uyo and, I relayed the same message to him. He was silent on the phone for some seconds after which he said, “nothing will happen to the aircraft”. I told him, “Please pray for me and the aircraft.”
 
Shortly after that, I called my spiritual father, Rev. Sunday Ikiedemhe, and he assured me that the Calabar-bound aircraft would land safely and that I should put my hope and trust in God. At this point, I regained my confidence and I began to pray for the aircraft. I also called my wife, Taiye, to gather my kids,Pearl and Peace for serious intercession for their Daddy and breadwinner and for the safelanding of the Arik aircraft.
 
At a point, I became pessimistic despite the prayers that were being offered on my behalf. What if the aircraft crash landed, who would believe my innocence? What will happen to my dependants? Would I be able to extricate myself from this dangerous coincidence? While these were going on in my mind, the lady who facilitated my detention sauntered into the room, to break the good news that the aircraft landed safely, but she met what she never bargained for. Armed with the news of the safe arrival of the aircraft, I was more than emboldened to challenge the official on why she had to remand me for over two hours when the duration of the flight was just 55 minutes.
 
Be that as it may, I think I was really surprised at the level of security consciousness now in place at the nation’s airports and it is indeed, a welcome development which should be encouraged. I bear no grudge against the airline and the security operatives, since it was for public good and safety. But my fear is, what happens if a passenger with genuine and incontrovertible reasons disembarks with no ill intentions and the unexpected happens as a result of a mechanical or human error? will the innocent not be made to suffer for what he/she knows nothing about? This is actually where my fear lies.
 
culled from Nigerian Tribune and posted by Eno Adams

Offline usman11

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“You think we don’t know people like you. You have gone in there to plant a bomb and you want us to believe you. You will remain here until we confirm the safe-landing of the aircraft in Calabar.”
 
I am convinced now that a vast majority of Nigerians are not functioning from a rational perspective anymore.
The above comments are attributed to someone, presumably a senior aviation security personnel/counter terrorism officer. My assumption is based on the fact that the journalist was led to this person's office for processing given his disembarkment prior to departure.   
 
Now, I undertand the need for security and safety of lives. I think the security agencies should really beef up security at the airport, seaport,  etc. But the interesting thing about the detention of this journalist is that, the security officer ordered the detension based on suspicion that the journalist had planted a bomb on the plane. However the same security officer did not order the plane grounded so a thorough sweep of the plane could be conducted to ensure it was safe. That would have been the common sense thing to do despite the time and inconvenience such an exercise wold have caused. Instead of conducting a sweep of the plane, this security officer opted to detain the 'suspect' and to observe the outcome of the flight. If the plane had gone down for whatever reason, that would have been proof for this so called security officer that a bomb had indeed been planted on the plane. Scary isn't it?
 
Ok so let's really just assume Mr. Journalist was indeed a terrorist that had planted a bomb on a plane. Is this how the security agent would have handled that threat? Allow the plane to taxi off the runway and proceed on its flight? This is just amazing!!!!How would that have saved lives? Isn't this an example of gambling with human lives?  To paraphrase the security officer....well, I know your type. It is people lke you that plant bombs on planes and then disembark. But, just to be sure, I'll detain you and wait to see if the plane blows up in mid air, and then you are in hot soup.
People, this is absolute madness, and I think this security personnel should be fired immediately because he has absolutely no clue what domestic security means. Security, domestic or external focuses on prevention or on eliminating the threat. If his gut feeling was that there was an imminent threat to the plane, common sense dictates that he should have prevented that plane from leaving the tarmac. He however, put the lives of passengers at great risk by not doing his damn job of securing the plane, evacuating all the passengers and crew, and then conducting a clean sweep of the aircraft. That is simple standard procedure. That's what I would have done. I would have apologised to the passengers  for the inconvenience of evacuating them prior to departure, and then proceeded to explain that it was a Standard Federal aviation safety procudure. After clearing the aircraft of any threat, then give the go ahead to reboard.
 
Last week, I read an article in Punch Newspaper about a demented woman in Lagos deliberately infecting people with HIV/AIDS. The Newspapers published the article just like a routine editorial, and even went as far as almost rationalizing this woman's sick behavior. According to the article, the woman in question had met with a string of bad lucks. She supposedly had gained admission to Edo State University, and her older and only brother in Lagos had offered to pay her tuition. A day later, the brother was killed in a car accident. with her brother's death, her hopes of college education were up in the air. So she had to travel to Lagos to coordinate burial arrangements. On her road trip to Lagos, the vehicle she was travelling in was ambushed by robbers. The robbers stole money and valuables from the bus pasengers and the proceeded to rape the female passengers. ( I hear rape is the in thing now in Nigeria). So this girl was raped repeatedly. Like most rape victims, she did not report the crime, but found out some months later that she was pregnant, and had been infected with HIV/AIDS.

This woman then began a revenge mission to infect as much men as possible. According this article in which she was interviewed, she revealed how she became a hooker and an escort. She relishes the fact that many of her male companions would sleep with her unprotected. The ones that insist on using protection her not so safe either because according to her, she has a way of moving her butt to generate friction enough to tear her partner's condom, thereby putting him at risk regardless of his precautionary measures. According to the crude estimate of the paper, this girl is perhaps responsible for spreading HIV infection or putting at risk up to 4,000 people. This story should send a chill down the spine of anyone.

My reaction was alarm. The had her picture in the paper, and they told her story as if she was just one inocent victim. Granted, he had been dealt an unfortunate hand, but it is no excuse to go out and deliberately infect unsuspecting people. This has nothing to with morality. This is a crime, and the woman or anyone found guilty of similar crime should be locked up for life without the possibility of parole. In other societies, having unprotected sex an unsuspecting partner after knowing of one's positive HIV status, is a serious crime that could put one behind bars for life. This is a public health hazard, and I am surprised that despite this notorious publicity, the government and health officials did not hastily remove this woman from society.

Things like this is what makes Nigeria a very peculiar place. This is why our society is so out of touch. What is with this rape phenomena? Armed robbers no longer just rob people, but they make it a point to rape, married or single, unmindful that their lust thirsty sexual assault destroys families and lives. I personally support the enactment of a law that imposes the death penalty on any armed robber or robbers who sexually assault their victims during the comission of a crime. I think this would be an appropriate law given the notoriety of the criminal elements that perpetrate this crime with total disregard of the sacredness of a woman feminity and the demonstrative lack of appreciation for the far reaching consequencies of their monstrous action.

God save the innocent Nigerian people. They are the first and true victims of Nigeria itself. 




Offline HUSNAA

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U2 one will die of apoplexy over Nigeria, Nigerians and their gaffes. Imagine the very real danger this guy was in even though he wasnt flying in the coffin  plane!!!
Ghafurallahi lana wa lakum

 


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