By Chinedu Eze
A Nigerian actor, Chris Bassey, was arrested recently when he disrupted an Arik Air flight from Enugu to Lagos with a hoax call, that a female passenger who was travelling on the flight was infected with the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
When the female passenger was tested on arrival at the Lagos airport, she tested negative, prompting the airline to order for Bassey’s arrest.
He would be charged to court next Monday for raising a false alarm which disrupted the operations of the airline.
THISDAY learnt that at about 1.05p.m. on August 29, a “certain man from Enugu” called the airline’s customer call centre to alert the airline that his girlfriend who was under quarantine for the EVD had escaped and was on board flight W3 611 from Enugu to Lagos.
“Immediately the flight landed at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) in Ikeja, Lagos, Arik Air’s ground staff who had been placed on alert approached the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) medical personnel, but the FAAN officials at GAT said they didn’t have the requisite equipment to screen passengers for the Ebola virus symptoms.
“The aircraft was therefore taxied to the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport. There, the Port Heath officials supervised the disembarking of the passengers and therefore directed the female passenger to be transferred to the clinic for checks. “The lady was later discovered to be free of Ebola symptoms after thorough examination. She then told Arik Air personnel that her boyfriend who made the malicious call from Enugu did that to smear her name because they had a misunderstanding.
“She further disclosed that she reported the boyfriend to the Police in Enugu on August 28.”
THISDAY has confirmed that Bassey was arrested in Enugu and may be charged to court on Monday because the incident distrupted Arik’s operations on day.
It was alleged that the Port Health officials’ response at MMIA was slow and it took them more than one hour to come out to screen the passenger.
A senior official of the airline linked the incident to hoax bomb calls made by terror organisations to disrupt flights.
“We are on that case. A man reported that a female passenger had Ebola because he didn’t want to her to travel. We have taken it to the police. This is not good for us because it frightens the passengers. It is the same thing they do with bomb threats which force airlines to evacuate passengers. We lose passengers because it makes people to become afraid to travel,” the official said.