Passengers lament pilfering of luggage at Lagos Airport

There is an upsurge in missing items in the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.


The pilfering of belongings of air travellers has become widespread at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

The development has left many victims with sour tales of how they lost valuables after arriving at the airport from various overseas countries.

The victims alleged that their belongings were tampered with during the process of bringing their loads to the conveyor belts at the arrival hall of the airport.
They said any baggage not having padlock stands a high risk of being pilfered by the ground staff of the aviation handling companies at the airport.

One of the victims, Sarah Ashafa, lamented that her luggage had been tampered with at the nation’s premier gateway after a recent trip overseas.

Ms. Ashafa lamented that she lost many personal belongings at the airport on June 3 on her return from a trip to the U.S., saying that she had suffered a similar experience before.

“When my bags got to me through the conveyor belt, I discovered that one of the bags that had my under wears, shoes and other items had been torn open with many items missing.

“I was very embarrassed; why should they steal my pants along with my shoes and clothes.

“The authorities should do something about it because I know that this will be happening to other passengers. I believe it happened here in Lagos,” she said.

Another victim, Fred Uzo, who returned to Lagos on May 8, aboard a Delta Airlines flight from the U.S, also complained that he lost an expensive belt which he kept in an unlocked compartment of his

“I was amazed when I returned home to discover that the belt was gone. I later realised that I kept the belt in an unlocked compartment of my luggage.

“I was totally embarrassed because I didn’t realise that such crimes would still be taking place at the Lagos Airport after all the measures put in place by the Federal Government.’’

Mr. Uzo said that he had thought that the era of luggage pilfering at the airport had ended, urging the authorities at the airport to step up security at the luggage area of the airport.

He said that he was not aware that he ought to have reported the incident to officials of the airline he used or to other relevant authorities at the airport.

A staff of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company, NAHCO, who spoke on the development, said the management of the company was not aware that belongings of travellers were being tampered with at the airport.

The worker, who pleaded anonymity because he was not authorised to comment on the issue, said that no passenger had come forward to report the matter to the NAHCO management.

The official said that if such incident occurred, the passenger had the right to report the matter to the airline he or she used for the trip.

He argued that that “such unfortunate incident may not have happened at the point of arrival because the luggage may have been tampered with at the point of departure.

He said any case of reported pilfering usually shows on the computer system of the airline, and the security agencies involved would undertake appropriate investigations.

“We advise the victim to formally report the incident either to the airline or the Consumer Protection Unit of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority at the airport.

“Once the case is reported, a copy of the report is electronically sent to the airline, ground handling company and agencies involve in scanning of luggage at the point of entry,” he said.

The official said that the investigation would lead to the arrest of the culprit, assuring that appropriate sanctions would always be taken against culprits.

PREMIUM TIMES in an exclusive report had revealed how passengers on Arik Air international flights complained that their luggage were tampered with at the Lagos airport and their items, especially tablets computers , stolen.

The airline’s spokesperson, Ola Adebanji, had said missing items form aircraft was commonplace worldwide citing instances form the US. He also blamed airport authorities for stolen items.



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