The Management of Air Peace has denied arresting a passenger on its Lagos-Abuja flight, dismissing a trending video insinuating a passenger was arrested.
In a statement, the airline explained that the passengers in the video was supposed to be on a 19:20 Lagos-Abuja flight which was delayed due to “tenable unforeseen operational concerns.”
However, it said the delay was “professionally communicated” to the affected passengers while efforts were made to put 46 of them on a flight that departed at 19:16, leaving behind 46 passengers.
It confirmed that one of the passengers, Paul Samuel, who suddenly became uncontrollably irate, assaulted its Boarding Officer, prompting the invitation of Aviation security officials of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
The airline added, “This was clearly unnecessary and despicable. We were about distributing refreshments in consonance with NCAA Regulations but Paul’s action disrupted the process and noise erupted from different quarters while he incited other passengers against the airline.
“FAAN Security was notified as the passengers were now trying to gain entrance to the airfield even when the aircraft was not yet on ground.
“FAAN Security was compelled to lock the Boarding Gate to prevent the passengers from going to the airfield, a highly regulated part of the airport.
“At 22:35, we called for boarding for the remaining 46 passengers. Due to his violent behaviour, Paul was arrested by FAAN Security. The action was taken in the best interest of the passengers and the airline.
“Also, the lady, Okoroafor Rita, who recorded the video being circulated, without the consent of those being recorded, was arrested by FAAN Security. FAAN Security repeatedly told her to stop recording but she did not. These arrests made some other passengers become unruly but with reinforcement from FAAN Security, the situation was managed, and the remaining passengers were able to board.”
The airline reiterated that “the arrests of Paul and Rita were done by FAAN security in line with their standard procedures.”
“Again, we sincerely apologise for the inconveniences experienced by the passengers last night as a result of the flight delay as it was caused by unavoidable operational factors.
“Air Peace is committed to providing Nigerians safe and seamless connectivity across cities and will not deliberately delay flights,” it added.