An all-female crew of Air Peace have foiled the attempt by a kidnapper to traffic a three-day old baby to Lagos from Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA).
The airline said the all-female crew comprised Captain Sinmisola Ajibola, Senior First Officer Onohi Agboighale, Mojoko Ewane, Taiye Abbey, Victoria Ukpiaifo and Ngozi Ezeamaka.
A source close to the airline confided in SaharaReporters that the group was led by a middle-aged woman, who, with her collaborators, had booked the airline’s flight to Lagos.
According to Chris Iwarah, Corporate Communications Manager of Air Peace, the suspect booked Air Peace Port Harcourt-Lagos flight P4 7393 and during boarding, the lead member of the crew, Mojoko Ewane, observed that the suspect was handling the baby in an awkward manner and decided to question her.
When she was questioned at the boarding door of the aircraft, the suspect claimed the baby was three days old. During further interrogation, the suspect allegedly contradicted herself when she stated that the baby was born on January 5, a day before her aborted trip. The suspect said she gave birth to the baby shortly after travelling from Lagos to Port Harcourt on an Air Peace flight on January 5.
“A call was later placed to the contact numbers the suspect said belonged to her husband and the doctor who handled the birth of the child. While the alleged husband claimed that his wife was actually pregnant, the alleged doctor’s number rang unanswered. When the suspect was asked to breastfeed the baby, she could not as there was no breast milk. The suspect tried to create a scene, rallying other passengers on the flight to prevail on Air Peace crew to allow her fly, but the crew stood their ground.”
It was gathered that when the crew informed the suspect that the carrier’s standard operating procedure barred them from allowing passengers fly with a week-old baby on grounds of health, she claimed to be a nurse and insisted that the baby’s health would not be jeopardised. The airline, it was gathered, later invited personnel of the Department of State Services (DSS) at the Port Harcourt Airport to take over the case for further investigation.
Iwarah confirmed the incident on Wednesday, saying the airline was proud that its crew professionally discharged their responsibility to ensure passengers’ safety and assist government in fighting crime. A DSS source in Port Harcourt also confirmed that the suspect had been transferred to the zonal office of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, for further investigation.
The suspect was said to have confessed that a lady gave her the baby. The DSS official also commended Air Peace crew for foiling the attempted child trafficking with their vigilance.
In June 2018, Air Peace crew exposed a suspected trafficker of a three-month-old baby on its Lagos-Banjul flight.