Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Bomb Scare On Arik Flight

There has been a bomb scare on an Arik Air flight from Maiduguri to Abuja but the Ministry of Aviation dismissed the incident as a hoax.

The ministry described as absolutely false rumours of arrest of a man carrying bomb which he unsuccessfully tried to set off inside an Arik Airline flight from Maiduguri to Abuja at Nnamdi Azikwe Airport on Tuesday.

In a press release signed by Joe Obi, her media aide, Princess Stella Oduah, the Minister of Aviation described the speculation as a “hoax” without any “iota of truth whatsoever” and a ” wicked rumour”.

Explaining what really happened, the ministry explained in the statement that a passenger identified as Aminu Galadima, an indigene of Minna, Niger state boarded a Maiduguri -Abuja bound Arik Air aircraft after going through all mandatory security screening.

The Ministry said nothing incriminating, no explosives or weapons whatsoever were found on him after he was screened.

The Ministry however said mid air the passenger began to act strangely, loudly screaming “Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar” (‘God is Great’).

“Fellow passengers, alarmed by this behaviour rushed to apprehend him.

“A thorough search by fellow passengers and crew members revealed nothing dangerous on him.
“The pilot immediately radioed Air Traffic Control and airport security operatives.

“The plane landed safely at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at exactly 1253 hrs and the suspect was handed over to the SSS at about 1445 hrs where he is currently being interrogated,” Ministry of Aviation explained.

The ministry added: “We wish to reassure the flying public of the continued focus of the Federal Ministry of Aviation on the safety and security of the nation’s airspace, while cautioning fellow Nigerians on the spreading of dangerous rumours. These rumours do not help to make our airspace either safer or more secure.”

Arik Air spokesperson, Mr. Banji Ola said in a statement that there was no bomb on board the plane.
“There is no iota of truth in the rumour making the rounds that a passenger attempted to bomb an Arik Air aircraft operating a flight from Maiduguri to Abuja today, Tuesday, October 23, 2012. To set the records straight, “a passenger on board flight W3 812 from Maiduguri to Abuja caused a scare when he started shouting Allah Akbar shortly before the aircraft landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

“The frightened passengers on board the flight became suspicious thinking the man was about to do something sinister.

“All the passengers on board the flight, including the man in question, had all gone through the normal security check at the Maiduguri International Airport and nothing incriminating was found on anyone.”
Ola said that when the aircraft landed in Abuja, another security check was conducted on the passenger and nothing incriminating was found on him.

“A further security search was conducted on the operating aircraft, a Boeing 737-700 NG (Next Generation) and no trace of bomb or explosives were found. The aircraft went back to service immediately,” Ola said.
He added: “Arik Air wishes to assure guests that all its flights undergo strict security checks and passengers have nothing to fear.”

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