By Isaac Tersoo Agber
An unruly passenger, who was caught smoking aboard an aircraft, has been handed over to the police for prosecution in line with civil aviation regulations, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has announced.
A statement signed by the spokesman of the Authority, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, said the passenger, whose name was withheld for security purpose, boarded a South African Airways 060 from Johannesburg to Lagos and was caught smoking on board the aircraft, a behaviour that contravenes Section 58 of the Civil Aviation Act 2006, Part.17.97.2 (a) and (c) of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulation 2012 (Nig.CARs).
The NCAA made reference to correspondences between the Authority and the Nigeria Police Force, pledging to join forces at ensuring adequate investigation in the course of interrogation and prosecution of the culprit.
According to Part 18.104.22.168 of the Nig.CARs, the stipulated penalty for smoking on board an aircraft is imprisonment of not less than two months if found guilty after fair hearing in a court of law.
The NCAA noted that according to the regulations, all airlines should and must, as part of pre-flight formalities, announce that smoking is prohibited anywhere in the cabin including the toilets, adding that the culprit in custody, failed to adhere to all warnings as reported by the airline. “Therefore; the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) will collaborate with the Police to ensure prosecution,” the statement read.
With this development, the NCAA is determined to forestall such incidences from arising in future and is committed to follow this case to its logical conclusion to serve as a deterrence to others who possess the penchant to flout the Authority’s regulations.
But while the Authority is bent on pinning down law breakers, it also informed the general public and air travellers of its commitment to arrest any act of exploitation or extortion reported against the airlines through its Directorate of Consumer Protection (DCP). The aim is to strike a balance between the rights of passengers and those of the airlines with a view to ensuring that both get full value for their money and service.