The Aviation Minister, Osita Chidoka, on Monday said the ministry has arrested three Arik Air staff for stealing fuel from an aircraft.
Mr. Chidoka said on his official Facebook page that the trio of Blessing Dugbe, Samuel Asuquo and Isaac Ajakaiye were arrested at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, during a security patrol operation on Sunday at about around 3 a.m.
Mr. Chidoka said the trio were stealing Jet A1 fuel from Arik Air plane, with registration number: 5N-MID into six jerry cans for sales at cheaper price to other unsuspecting airline operators.
“A development that has capacity, to threaten safety and security of airplanes. Meanwhile, the three (3) suspects were handed over to the Crime Investigation Bureau (CIB), AVSEC MMIA for further action,” Mr. Chidoka said.
He said in the aviation industry’s fight against corruption and security breaches, other chief security officers and heads of aviation security have been alerted and directed to intensify patrol and surveillance operations at various
airports across Nigeria.
He said considering the magnitude of the crime to the security and safety of airplanes, the chief security officer of the Lagos airport has been asked to ensure that the suspects are handed over to the airport police for adequate prosecution.
This is not the first time that Arik staff are accused of theft. Passengers have often lamented the loss of one item or the other aboard the airline’s flights.
In an exclusive report by this newspaper in June 2014, some passengers lamented how they lost items ranging from iPad, jewelleries, clothes to perfumes.
A passenger interviewed for that report complained that the lock on her luggage was broken aboard a flight to Johannesburg, South Africa.
Also, a popular Nigerian blogger, Japhet Omojuwa, once accused the airline’s flight attendants of stealing his iPad aboard one of its aircrafts.
The airline is yet to officially comment on the latest incident.