‘Everyday is for the thief, but one day is for the owner’.
This was the case of a passenger who was caught onboard an Ibom Air Lagos/Abuja bound flight stealing a laptop belonging to a fellow passenger.
The passenger succeeded in stealing the laptop from the luggage of another passenger kept in the over head cabin of the aircraft.
Confirming the incident, the General Manager, marketing and communication, Aniekan Essienette declared: “On the morning of the 26th of July 2023, during the boarding of Ibom Air flight Q1300 from Lagos to Abuja, a passenger, OGENEOCHUKO DAVID, M., was apprehended for allegedly taking another passenger’s laptop from his bag in the overhead cabin. “The owner of the laptop, who suspected the movement of the said Mr. David within the aircraft, decided to check where his laptop was kept and immediately realized the item was no longer there. He raised the alarm by notifying the crew members accordingly.
“A search was immediately instituted, which led to about half an hour delay, and the laptop was found with Mr. David. He was immediately offloaded and handed over to the Federal Airport Authority (FAAN) Aviation Security (AVSEC) for further investigation, who then handed him over to the Police for further investigation.
“The police have since confirmed that the suspect is a member of a large syndicate specializing in stealing onboard aircraft.
The owner of the laptop voluntarily stepped down from the flight to assist with the investigation and promised to follow up with the case to its logical conclusion.
“In line with our corporate policy, Ibom Air has zero tolerance for this sort of criminal activity on board our flights and will prosecute any offenders to the full extent of the law.”
The airline recalled how one Kingsley Chinsunum was alleged to have stolen the sum of one hundred thousand Naira(N100,000.00) from a wallet kept inside a bag in the overhead bin, while on board Ibom Air flight 4150 at Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two Ikeja, on the 31st of May 2023. He has since been charged to Court and is presently facing trial at the Ikeja Magisterial District.
Not too long also, a passenger, one Mr. Adebayo Adelugba, staged the stealing of his own checked-in bag and declared it missing, accusing the airline of negligence amidst threats of litigation, but for CCTV footage which caught him in the act. He was convicted of the crime of threat against Ibom Air, disturbance of public peace, and lies at the Ogba Magistrate court in Lagos, where he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two weeks imprisonment and a fine.
The report of an increase in stealing onboard aircraft highlights the importance of passengers to be extra vigilant and attentive to their belongings during flights.
According to Ibom Air, following instructions from the crew members and taking necessary precautions can help minimize such incidents.
“Passengers are therefore encouraged to report any suspicious activities they observe during their flights to the crew members immediately, as early intervention can prevent potential thefts and ensure a safer travel experience for everyone on board.”