1st September, 2013
The family members of 13-year old Nigerian stowaway boy, who flew from Benin to Lagos inside the wheel compartment of an aircraft, has appealed for his release from custody.
Daniel Oikhena, a Junior Secondary School (JSS) II student attracted attention when he `flew’ on Arik aircraft on Saturday Aug. 24.
Miss Sonia Oikhena, elder sister of the stowaway boy, made the appeal at a news conference in Benin on Saturday.
Sonia said family members were worried that Daniel was still in detention eight days after the dramatic event.
She urged the Federal Government to order the security agencies to release the youngster to his family.
She expressed concern that there had been no contact with the family by those holding Daniel.
“The only contact the family had with the security agents was when the SSS in Benin invited their mother for questioning.’’
This, she stressed, had placed the family in a difficult situation over the issue.
“There has been no word from the security agencies as to where the boy was being detained or his state of health.
“We are worried and do not know where my brother is and his present health condition after flying in such a risky position.
“My brother should not be held culpable over the security lapses at the airport.
“If there had been tight security at the airport, he wouldn’t have succeeded in taking that risk of flying through the wheel of an aircraft.”
On his part, Desmond, (9), the immediate younger brother, appealed for his brother’s release “because he acted out of ignorance.’’
Desmond said he was not however surprised when the news came to them last Sunday that Daniel was in Lagos.
Desmond said his brother got the idea of hiding inside the wheel of an aircraft from foreign movies he often watched.
“Daniel has been telling us about plans to travel to America by hiding inside the wheel compartment of an aircraft.
“We slept in the same room the night before the incident and we were surprised when he woke up so early.
“He packed his school bag, removed the books and replaced them with some of his clothes and hung his rosary on his neck.
“He quietly walked out without anybody knowing his destination. When my mother started looking for him, I told her to go to the airport to search for him based on what he has been telling us.
“I want my brother released to us. We are missing him and want him back home. My family is not happy over the continued detention of our brother.
“He is just a child and must have acted out of ignorance; he needs brotherly love and guidance.
“We are appealing to those responsible for his detention to please consider us because we have no money to fight any case”, the Desmond pleaded.