A Nigerian passenger who travelled aboard Ibom Air has been convicted in Lagos State, South-west Nigeria, for falsely claiming that his baggage was missing.
The unnamed passenger, who travelled on Ibom Air flight QI0319 from Abuja to Lagos on 20 February, apparently acted with a criminal intention to extort the airline, according to a statement issued on Saturday by the airline management.
The airline did not, however, reveal the passenger’s name and other details.
After receiving the passenger’s complaint about his “missing” bag, Ibom Air activated its tracking process and confirmed that all bags were loaded onto the aircraft from Abuja, the statement said.
“Due to the passenger’s complaint, constant calls, disturbance, verbal abuse and threat to the company about his alleged missing bag and valuables items (Designer brand shoes, clothes, etc.) contained therein, we requested a replay of the CCTV footage of that day from Bicourtney Airport Services Limited, Managers of the Murtala Mohammed Airport Terminal 2 (MMA2) to ascertain what became of the bag.
“From the CCTV footage, it was discovered that the bag the passenger claimed to be missing was his checked-in bag. The CCTV footage showed when the passenger picked up the bag from the conveyor belt, with a bag tag on it, he proceeded to the restroom where he removed the Bag tag from the bag in order to escape the waiting Ibom Air Security Baggage Reconciliation Team, who would have retrieved our baggage claim tag from him, and went straight to the Ibom Air counter, where he raised a false alarm about his alleged missing checked baggage,” the statement said.
The airline, after discovering that the passenger was being “dubious”, reported the matter to the security agencies at the Lagos airport terminal and then invited the passenger for “further investigation and resolution of the issue”.
Confronted with evidence
“Upon his arrival, he stood his ground and was handed over to the security agencies where he made his statement. When confronted with the CCTV footage, he broke down and confessed to the crime.
“He was charged to court for the offense punishable under section 168(d) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2015. He pleaded guilty to the charge and showed remorse for his actions and promised not to repeat them again. He was convicted with an option of a fine,” the statement said.
Ibom Air said it had to issue the statement in order “to deter unscrupulous elements who are hell-bent on tarnishing the image of Airline Operators while seeking illegitimate gain”.
“Recently, the aviation industry has been under siege in Nigeria, with a deluge of issues that keep coming up, requiring airlines to be extra vigilant.
“We would further like to assure our highly valued passengers of our continuous strive for excellence and the safety and security of our passengers and their checked baggage in our care,” the airline said.
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