Air Peace’s all-female crew comprising Captain Simisola Ajibola, Senior First Officer Onohi Agboighale, Mojoko Ewane, Taiye Abbey, Victoria Ukpiaifo and Ngozi Ezeamaka has thwarted an attempt by a middle-aged female passenger and her collaborators to traffic a three-day-old baby boy through the Port Harcourt Airport to Lagos.
Mr. Chris Iwarah, the Corporate Communications Manager, confirmed that the incident happened on Sunday when the suspect booked Air Peace Port Harcourt-Lagos Flight P4 7393. He said during boarding, Mojoko Ewane, the Lead Crew of the flight, observed that the suspect was handling the baby in an awkward manner and decided to question her.
“When she was questioned at the door of the aircraft, the suspect claimed the baby was three days old. She, however, later told her interrogators 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. 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 later invited the Department of State Services (DSS) at the Port Harcourt Airport to take over the case for further investigation. The suspect has 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 handling. The suspect eventually confessed that a lady gave her the baby,” Iwarah said.
In June 2018, another Air Peace crew also exposed a suspected trafficker of a three-month-old baby on its Lagos-Banjul, The Gambia.
Iwarah said the airline was proud that its crew professionally discharged their responsibilities.