Ibom Air on Saturday confirmed the evacuation of a passenger from its Abuja-Lagos bound flight over alleged threats against Nigeria’s president-elect, Bola Tinubu.
In a statement issued by Aniekan Essienette, the airline’s Group Manager, Marketing and Communication, the airline described the passenger’s behaviour as “inappropriate and unruly”.
“A passenger stood up and began addressing other passengers in a manner considered inappropriate and unruly, as he was making other passengers nervous,” the statement said.
The airline did not identify the passenger or provide further details about his condition after he was evacuated from the aircraft.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how, in a video making the rounds on social media, the yet-to-be identified man stood in between the passengers’ seat in the middle of the aircraft and could be heard threatening that Mr Tinubu must not be sworn in as Nigerian president next month.
“You all are sitting here, and Tinubu is about to be sworn in as President. Tinubu must never be sworn in. He must never be President,” he said.
“I am a PhD holder in law and I’ll keep saying what I am saying.”
His conducts and utterances attracted the attention of passengers aboard the flight, while others asked him to go to court.
“Instead of going off this plane, you will go down,” the unidentified man told another passenger who challenged him to disembark from the aircraft.
While trying to resist attempt to evacuate him from the aircraft, the man screamed: “Obidients! You are looking… Obidients!”
It remains unclear Saturday afternoon whether the man is a supporter of Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 general elections.
Supporters of Mr Obi are popularly refered to as ‘Obidients’.
In its statement Saturday, Ibom Air said its crew deemed the man’s continuous unruly behaviour unsafe and invited airport security to help put the situation under control.
Upon his refusal to stop or disembark peacefully, the airline said the security operatives were left with no choice but to forcefully disembark the passenger as a last option.
“We are aware that several videos and reports of this incident are circulating on social media and wish to provide the right perspective,” the statement noted.
“Ibom Air wishes to assure our passengers that we maintain very high safety and service standards and will never compromise the safety and security of our passengers.
“We apologise to the affected passengers for the time it took to disembark this passenger, which caused an otherwise on-time departure to be delayed by an hour,” the statement said.
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