11th September, 2013
Edo State Government, in mid-western Nigeria, has secured admission in one of the state’s top secondary schools for 13-year-old Daniel Oikhena, who stowed away in the wheel well of an Arik Aircraft from Benin to Lagos on Saturday August 24, this year.
The State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole made this disclosure during the visit of Mr George Uriesi, Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and other FAAN Management team to him at the Government House, Benin City, yesterday.
According to the Governor, “without meaning to encourage anyone else, we decided to support him by sending him to one of the top secondary schools in Edo State that is owned by the Government. The reason for opting for a boarding school is that we think that there need to closely watch him which his parents could not do.
“He is an intelligent young man with uncommon challenges, but one that has a vision. We had him examined by people who should know and the result confirmed that he is normal”, Oshiomhole noted.
“This incident was probably the kind of trigger that we needed to improve the facilities at our Airports. You are never going to have all the money you need to do all you have to do. You should start from somewhere”, he noted.
Oshiomhole added “it is also a security issue that we do not have any runway security lights at the Benin Airport. It is a security issue because a plane can take off and it is flying to Benin airspace and it has mechanical faults and it cannot land.
“Politically, there could be an emergency in Edo State and the President needed to visit and he cannot land at the airport at night. You cannot spend the kind of money you are spending on remodeling and the little one you have to do is to ice the cake and you have a complete project. You should take this as something more urgent”, he added.
Earlier, Mr Uriesi said they were in Benin City for ground assessment of the stowaway incident which has forced FAAN to review and improve on its security arrangements.
He said: “we are responding to the incident of the stowaway of that young boy a few weeks ago which was a big surprise to all of us.
“We want to inform you that we have taken strenuous measures to ensure that a similar incident does not happen. It was serious and miraculous event, because prior to that day, I would have told you it was a death sentence. We are trying to create an awareness that this is a death sentence and young people should not attempt it at all. The likelihood of survival is slim.”
On the security arrangements put in place to check a recurrence, Uriesi said FAAN plans to acquire security vehicles on take-off and arrival of planes and that security teams made up of the Air force and airport security will now patrol the airports.
He said “one of the negative things we inherited was that the airports were not fenced, or some of them were fenced at the beginning and the fences have fallen apart.
“We have a plan to fence the airport and it is an onerous task. The smallest airport perimeter fence in the country is fourteen kilometers and the biggest one is about 33 kilometers. Altogether it is about 500 kilometers. It is a huge capital outlay. We need to secure the airports.
“We also wish to enlighten the youths that they should not try it. This boy is a miracle boy”, he noted.