Touchaheart blog reports that the quick thinking Air Peace employees have foiled a pair of baby smugglers about to board a flight to Asaba. The incident involving two babies occurred at Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos on Monday, June 7. It is the third time in three years alert Air Peace employees have disrupted the child trafficking trade.
According to multiple Nigerian media reports, an adult male and female attempted to check-in for a flight to Asaba at lunchtime on Monday. Asaba is a Nigerian city located some 273 miles (440 kilometers) east of Lagos. Air Peace offers several flights a day between Lagos and Asaba.
With the two adults were two babies aged around three months. Stanley Olisa, a spokesperson for Air Peace, says check-in staff asked about the infants and became suspicious. Initially, the two passengers said the infants belonged to them, and they were traveling only to Asaba.
“The two adults, who hinted that the babies were three months old each, were further questioned by another counter attendant and a security personnel, but they gave a different narrative,” Mr Olisa is quoted saying in Nigeria’s Vanguard News.
“The two adults gave conflicting explanations to different staff- that the babies were being taken to the United Kingdom to unite them with their parents, and later they said they were sending the babies to Zimbabwe for adoption.”
As suspicions intensified, Air Peace’s security staff intervened and brought in local police. According to Vanguard News, the passengers admitted to police they were trafficking the babies for adoption.
Not the first time Air Peace employees foil baby smugglers
Touchaheart blog recalls that this isn’t the first time Air Peace has foiled baby smugglers. In June 2018, alert flight attendants on a flight between Lagos and Banjul became suspicious when a female passenger declined to breastfeed an unsettled three-month-old child. Instead, she tried to give the little boy water. The female passenger was one of two adults traveling together
When the flight crew challenged the passengers, they claimed to be taking the baby to Banjul under a surrogacy deal. Dissatisfied, the flight crew notified Banjul, and security personnel met the flight on arrival.
On the ground, the passengers were separated and questioned. Both gave conflicting accounts of who the baby boy was and their relationship with it. Later DNA testing proved no biological link. At the time, Air Peace applauded its flight crew for intervening.
In January 2019, a flight crew again stepped in to rescue a baby about to board a flight from Port Harcourt to Lagos. This child was three days old. This time Air Peace did name the flight crew who saved the child. They were Captain Sinmisola Ajibola, Senior First Officer Onohi Agboighale, Mojoko Ewane, Taiye Abbey, Victoria Ukpiaifo, and Ngozi Ezeamaka.
The female passenger, again traveling with adult companions, provided varying accounts of her relationship with the baby and her reason for traveling. Air Peace called in the police, and reports say the female passenger later confessed to trafficking the child.
Only eight years old, Air Peace’s reputation as one of west Africa’s best airlines is growing fast. The willingness of their employees to intervene, ask questions, and disrupt the baby smuggling trade only adds to that reputation.