Posted by News Express | 27 August 2013 | 8,170 times
The mother of Daniel Oikhena, the Junior Secondary School (JSS) One pupil in the Edo State capital, Benin, who last Saturday illegally travelled to Lagos hidden in the wheel compartment of an Arik Air flight, has painted a clear picture of the daring boy and why he undertook the dangerous adventure.
Mrs. Evelyn Oikhena, who spoke with journalists yesterday at the family’s Ehiegba Street residence shortly before turning at the State Security Service (SSS) for interrogation, expressed shock that 15-year-old Daniel could embark on such a risky venture. She dismissed the claim that the boy took the risk because off ill-treatment at home.
Hear her: “My son answers Daniel in school and Ricky at home. When we started looking for him, his nine-year-old younger brother told me that anytime they were watching movies, Daniel always said he would take an aircraft to travel abroad. The boy asked me to check for Daniel at the airport. I did not believe him.
“I left home on Friday to pass the night at my elder sister’s home. When I came back the following morning, my daughter told me that he and Daniel had an argument on Friday night. She said she did not find him around the following morning.
“I did not maltreat him. I don’t even joke with my children’s education; I give them the best education. Everybody knows me. Ask of me at Oba Market (in Benin). The only thing that bothers me now is how my daughter will go to school, a Federal Government college.
“Daniel does not have friends. He hardly leaves home. I don’t know where he was going in Lagos; we don’t have any relative in Lagos. I have never been to the airport. But I cannot deny the fact that he might have been to the airport when he was attending a private school, but I’m not aware of when this happened.
“When I heard the news, I did not know what to do or say. I was very weak. Several people asked me to calm down. My only joy now is that he is alive; that is my happiness. I want the government to help me. I did not send him. I’m innocent.
“I went to my elder sister’s place who put to bed and when I got home the next morning (Saturday), I couldn’t find him and my daughter told me that they quarrelled in the night because he woke up in the midnight to watch movies and she told him to go to bed and stop watching movies. She said he eventually slept in the parlour while she went back to sleep in the room.
“One of his younger brothers said he saw him remove all his school books from his bag. So, I asked my neighbours whether any of them saw him and they told me that around 5.00 a.m., they heard sounds indicating that somebody was opening the gate but never thought it was my son. He doesn’t go out. What I know is that he is always watching films in the house but he doesn’t have friends.
“I went to Oba Market police station. They referred me to Evbuotubu police station and when I got there, they said they would declare him missing after 24 hours and that I should come back the next day. I went to inform my pastor in the church and other members, my friends and other relations.”
News Express reports that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Arik Air have been trading blames over the embarrassing incident. While Arik claims that the pilot of the aircraft duly informed FAAN authorities on sighting strange boy in the bush as the plane took off, FAAN claimed that the airline failed to act when the boy was sighted on the tarmac before the plane left Benin.
•Photo, courtesy Vanguard, shows Daniel and his mother, Evelyn Oikhena.
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