Frontline civil society activist, Comrade Patrick Eholor has expressed worry over the illegal hoarding and hiking of airline tickets by airport and airlines staff.
Eholor, who said the development was very dangerous and could jeopardize the security of travelers and even that of the country, said the ticketing offices at airports sell off tickets to themselves with fictitious names, only to resell them at extortionary rates to passengers without verified identities.
Eholor who narrated his own experience while traveling from Abuja to Benin, said terrorists could take advantage of the development to hijack aircrafts and even engage in suicide bombings with planes loaded with passengers.
He therefore called on the National Security Adviser Babagana Monguno, as well as the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika to as a matter of urgency, address the problem before it endangers the lives of travelers.
His words: “I was supposed to return to Benin with a one way ticket, as I was coming to Benin from Abuja this morning. When I called, a ticket that’s supposed to be sold for N35,000 have been hiked to N140,000 and N200,000 respectively.
“What they are doing is to compile fictitious names and use them to buy off all the tickets. After buying them, it becomes scarce, and when you come in, they will tell you there is no ticket available.
“This development has been ongoing in the Nigerian airlines industry, and everyone is keeping mute, but for the sake of the international community and people in diaspora, we have a lot banditry, armed robbery, Boko Haram and insurgency.
“If the criminal elements take up this development, Nigeria is finished. This is because people are buying tickets with anonymous names and traveling with them. The airline authorities don’t check IDs anymore. People are checking in with lighters, people are checking in with firearms, and the airport authorities don’t care. What they care about is the money. They don’t know who is flying in their planes. We won’t want what happened in 9/11 to happen in Nigeria, God forbid.
“Our national security system have been infiltrated by bandits, Fulani herdsmen and other criminals.
“I am crying out once again, I don’t want to be the Nostradamus of our time. So the national security adviser need to wake up and check what’s happening on our airlines and ensure there is safety of passengers against possible hijack or bombing.
“They must investigate and find out those who are boarding our aircrafts without IDs, and those who are selling tickets to them without finding out who they are or what their identities are, for the sake of money.
“Passengers must carry verifiable identities like the national ID card or international passports. Enough is enough.
“What they are doing is very dangerous, and I am calling out that something must be done about it on time. If we do not value our own lives, we should just be aware that there are Americans flying our planes locally, there are also Europeans traveling in Nigeria.
“Our National Security Adviser must be aware of this, the FBI must be aware of this, the CIA must be aware of this, the military and police intelligence must be aware of this, and this development must be terminated now.
“I am a frequent flyer, our security operatives at the airports are so porous, and this need to be checked now”,he warned.