The effrontery of a teenage boy, Daniel Ikehina, who sneaked into the tyre compartment of a Lagos-bound Arik plane in Benin, from where he flew safely to the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, has attracted mixed reactions from Nigerians on social media.
While many did not spare the authorities of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and the Arik Airline officials of criticisms over the apparent laxity in airport security, others have expressed amazement at the bravery exhibited by the adolescent stowaway.
In the picture which circulated on social media, the young lad was seen wearing a rosary while a security official who had apprehended him and was whisking him away held on to his bag.
Many Nigerians wondered how the young lad survived the turbulence at such a high altitude — from Benin, Edo State to Lagos. They noted that the development had yet again exposed how porous the aviation system in Nigeria is. According to them, if the teenager had sinister intentions and was clad with bombs, the country would have been thrown into another round of national mourning.
A Facebook user, Oba Philomina-Esther, wrote, “But speaking seriously, this shows that we have a serious problem as regards securing our airports. This is a serious security breach.
“If that boy was carrying bomb, it means he would have succeeded in blowing up the plane. How can somebody be in an aircraft without being detected? We are in trouble in this country.”
An anonymous reader on ladunliadi.blogspot.com called for an immediate probe and sanction of officials who were on duty at the time the incident occurred. The reader wrote, “I hope the aviation minister is reading this. Everyone on duty, including airport security officials and air traffic controllers, should be sanctioned. Many people are complacent in this country. It’s only God that is protecting us. I’m full of thanks to God for averting another mishap.’’
A cross section of respondents argued that the young lad must have been plagued with abject poverty while the foreign (especially Hollywood) movies he had been exposed to while growing up could have made him so daring to consider such a dangerous escapade.
According to them, Ikehina must have been determined to flee from home in search of greener pastures to Lagos, from where he could consider repeating the same feat on an aircraft travelling overseas.
A reader on punchng.com observed that such a scenario may rear its ugly head in the future if government at all levels fail to alleviate the suffering of many downtrodden in the society.
“Thank God the boy did not die. I am happy he flew the same airplane with top government officials. Bad leadership has compromised the future of many youths. With abject poverty and bleak future starring at the majority of the populace, more of this desperation for greener pastures is to be expected in the years ahead,’’ Chike stated.
Yet from another reader came, “The kid got guts. This only happens out of sheer desperation and it’s a sad thing, he could have easily lost his life. Nigerians should be properly advised against going to such extremes. We can make it here as well. Losing your life isn’t worth it.’’
But as the teenager got rebuked for his action, some Nigerians urged the Federal Government not to overlook his daring attitude if found to have embarked on the adventure without an intent to perpetrate a criminal act.
They said the FG needs to admire the teenager’s daring spirit of adventure and give him some credit not only for beating the security officials but also for flying safely. According to them, Nigeria should start embracing the unusual talents of youths by helping them to polish such with a view to using it in a better way than just allowing it die with them.
A reader on codewit.com, who wrote anonymously said, “Wow! My mouth wide open! He is bold, smart, and fearless and in fact, he is a genius! If a boy like this can fearlessly do this, believe me, there is nothing he can’t do or achieve if he has the right guidance.’’
Also, on punchng.com, one Dammy Ray explained, “Everybody should think outside the box and see that this boy is actually what the United States government would employ as a federal spy or CIA agent with proper training! He is still a teenager and he beat a whole airport security!’’
Some Nigerians who were thrilled by the boy’s boldness also asked the Guinness Book of World Records to take a cursory look at his adventure. “That boy must have been watching Hollywood movies to have been able to do that. Let the Guinness Book of Records take note of his achievement,’’ one Ben Cool said on Facebook.