“I’m Tired Of Nigeria” – 14-Year-Old Lagos Stowaway Says
A preliminary investigation of a stowaway arrested at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, has hinted that the move was motivated by the frustration of living in Nigeria.
The Guardian learned that the 14-year-old boy, identified as Rasheed Mufutau, had hopped into the wheel well of a packed aircraft belonging to the United Nigeria Airlines (UNA), with the hope of landing overseas.
The stowaway phenomenon is global. Findings showed that from 1947 until September 2012, there were 96 known stowaway attempts worldwide in wheel wells of 85 separate flights, which resulted in 73 deaths with only 23 survivors.
Head of Corporate Communications, Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operator of the MMA2 terminal, Oluwatosin Onalaja, disclosed that the 14-year-old found unconscious on Sunday morning had been resuscitated and was now in the custody of the airport authority, where he was being held for further investigation.
According to Onalaja, the boy told investigators that he gained access into the airside through an opening at Ile-Zik, FAAN’s perimeter fence along the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway.
“The invader said he was tired of the country and wanted to travel out,” Onalaja said.
Further interrogation confirmed that Mufutau hails from Kwara State but lives in Badagry. He is an orphan.
“His intention was to travel, as he was tired of the country. He passed through the General Aviation Terminal, Air Force hanger, and walked down to MMA2 where he hid at the apron. He saw staff on duty at GAT and Air Force hangar but dodged them and passed through the bush. He became unconscious as a result of the drugs he took and a lack of ventilation,” Onalaja stated.
Stowaways in aircraft wheel wells face numerous health risks airborne, many of which are fatal. They include being mangled when the undercarriage retracts, tinnitus, deafness, hypothermia, hypoxia, frostbite, acidosis and finally falling when the doors of the compartment reopen.
The latest incident came months after a mangled body was found on the international runway of the Lagos airport.