An Air Peace all-female crew comprising Captain Sinmisola Ajibola; Senior First Officer, Onohi Agboighale, Mojoko Ewane, Taiye Abbey, Victoria Ukpiaifo and Ngozi Ezeamaka has foiled an attempt by a middle-aged woman and her collaborators to traffic a three-day-old baby boy to Lagos through the Port Harcourt Airport in Rivers State.
Our correspondents learnt that the suspect had booked an Air Peace Port Harcourt-Lagos Flight P4 7393 on Sunday, January 6, 2019, but during boarding, the lead crew of the flight, Ms. Mojoko Ewane, observed that the suspect was handling the baby in an awkward manner and decided to question her.
When the suspected female trafficker was interrogated, at the boarding door of the aircraft by the crew, she claimed that the baby was three days old.
When the female crew informed the suspect that the carrier’s standard operating procedure barred it from allowing passengers fly with a week-old baby on grounds of health, she claimed to be a nurse and insisted that the baby’s health would not be jeopardised.
To verify if actually, the baby she was handling so roughly was hers, the suspect was asked to breastfeed the baby, but she could not as there was no breast milk flowing for the baby to suck, a development that further raised suspicion that the baby might not be her own.
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The suspect later tried to create a scene, rallying other passengers on the flight to prevail on Air Peace crew to allow her to fly, but the crew stood its grounds and invited officials of the Department of State Security to assist in the interrogation. It was the DSS officials who later succeeded in forcing the suspect to confess that the baby was being trafficked.
Air Peace Corporate Communications Manager, Mr. Chris Iwarah, confirmed the incident on Wednesday, saying the airline was proud that its crew professionally discharged its responsibility to ensure passengers’ safety and assist the government in fighting crime.
Iwarah, explained that a call was placed to the contact numbers the suspect gave her interrogators which she said belonged to her husband and the doctor who handled the birth of the child.
He said while the alleged husband claimed that his wife was actually pregnant, the alleged doctor’s number rang but was not answered.
DSS officials later revealed that the suspect confessed that a lady handed her the baby to traffic to Lagos and that it wasn’t hers after all.
The DSS source who revealed the confession of the lady but did not want to be mentioned commended the Air Peace crew for foiling the attempted child trafficking with its vigilance.
A DSS source also confirmed that the suspect had been transferred to the zonal office of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State for further investigation and prosecution.