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Searching for Greener Pastures? Nigerian Stowaway found dead in Arik Airplane’s Undercarriage



It is really sad that the desperation to leave the country in search of what many would call greener pastures has led them to their death. Today, we have been shocked with the news of the dead body of a young Nigerian man found in the wheel well, the undercarriage compartment of an Arik Air aircraft, after it returned from a flight to New York, United States.

One of the airline’s officials told This Day that the deceased might have hidden himself in the wheel well for days and was crushed to death while the flight was airborne to the JF Kennedy Airport, New York, from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos. He added that the dead body was found during a check on the aircraft panel as it was being prepared for another flight and that the undercarriage compartment of the Airbus A340-500 is big enough to accommodate a person, besides the space for the tyres.

It seems ridiculous for someone to think he or she can hide in the wheel well of an aircraft while the plane is flying, doesn’t it? The source further said that it is out of ignorance that people hide in the wheel well and plan to stowaway because “the compartment is not pressurised like the cabin of an aircraft and it is not heated, so survival is rare even if the person is not crushed by the wheels.”

Pilots and aeronautical engineers familiar with the wheel well compartment said it is roomy enough to contain a human being, but it is highly unlikely that any one who hid there would come out alive after a flight that took several hours due to lack of oxygen.

The official attributed the incident to porous security at the airport, noting that “if having access to the airside is stringently prohibited, anybody that is not an official of airlines, handling companies and Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria would not gain access to the tarmac.”

Further investigations by ThisDay revealed that stowaways connive with ground handling companies to access the airside and the wheel well.

In March 2010, a Nigerian, Okechukwu Okeke was found dead in the nose wheel compartment of the United States carrier, Delta Airline, Boeing B777 aircraft parked on the tarmac of the Lagos airport.

We have heard of people travelling through the desert, trying to enter foreign countries by road and other means. But this sounds to risky to even be considered. We don’t know what might have pushed him to do this or how he even got there, but we pray that his soul shall Rest in Peace.

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at


  1. moi

    October 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Bella…you should write an article “Is the grass really greener on the other side” So we can share our experiences living abroad….its not easy o !!! S o sad, may his soul RIP.

    • Anon

      October 27, 2012 at 1:35 pm

      She did that a while ago.

    • YaYa

      October 27, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      Yes. BN that article will be wonderful at this moment. Pls repeat it if u have already had such. It’s very important to educate people on the realities of moving out of the country in search for greener pastures. It will be a fun topic for Monday if u ask me.

    • Tiki

      October 27, 2012 at 7:36 pm

      I’d like to hear your experiences. check out my blog at


    October 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Sad! May his soul rest in peace! Wherever you are make the best of it. It is not easy anywhere.

  3. Anon

    October 27, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Moi; she did that a while ago.

    • Iris

      October 27, 2012 at 4:59 pm

      Exactly what I was thinking. HOW did he get past security? What does that say for safety in the international airport?

  4. kellyfbaby

    October 27, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    really sad!! only God knows the level of frustration that would make someone do such a thing!! May his soul rest in peace.

  5. timi

    October 27, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    this is so sad.we need to really educate our young ones on how bright their future in nigeria is.If they are ready to come together and fight all the political elites that have sold their future to the devil with self enriching policies.

  6. Amber

    October 27, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Only God knows how much he would have paid someone in the security to get under [email protected],no matter what you say,people will still try their luck,they always feel they will be smarter and theirs will be different.i dnt even discourage anyone again,infact if u can get the visa and get here,I will accommodate and feed u for a month,after then I go send u out to look for house and job to take care of ursef,then u will know how easy it is…that is wot I tell them’s only people that are enlightened that know wassup,even some are still ignorant.

  7. ola

    October 27, 2012 at 8:17 pm


  8. womy de

    October 27, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    there er still many questions to be answered. I dont think the guy is searchin for any greener pastures.

  9. Pd

    October 27, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Too much action movie…….RIP

  10. Lams

    October 27, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    There is a part of me that cringes, when I read such stories. The other part, now gets pissed off, when I read lamentations of people who live abroad, saying it is not easy o. Whatever results, you get in life, is usually a direct reflection of the effort you put in, plus His Grace. Sometimes, we put in the wrong efforts, and we keep hoping and praying that Grace, will miraculously lift us up. Number one, if you live in a country illegally, newsflash, bros and sis, of course, you will NOT be successful, and will continue toiling, and toiling, because the system in the western world, ensures that hey, if we don’t catch you, you still won’t “enjoy” it, because our laws will frustrate you. One question is, why should you be successful as an illegal. You are denying a legal citizen or immigrant of jobs, you are also adding to the burden of an already stretched public facilities (hospital, housing, transportation, security etc), whose structure was not designed for the population explosion of illegals. The other person who said, get the visa, I will house you and feed you for one month, I am guessing, you are the type, that will accommodate people on visit visas, who then abscond. Shame on you. I am guessing, you r either still illegal, or you are legal now, after finding a way to play the system. Anyone that can gather the money for visa fees, flight ticket, and extra cash should start up a business/service in Nigeria, rather than come to a country, whose system will ensure that you WILL suffer, and lament, it is not easy o, when you abscond.

    • brutal

      October 28, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      You couldn’t have said it better! Oh my gosh. It’s very sad reading stories like this and my heart goes out to the family of this poor man but even more saddening is listening to people with a better lifestyle – some of which include access to good health, water, electricity, infrastructure, education, democracy, security and most likely “social welfare” – say “this grass isn’t green”. My question is if it ain’t green, why are you still here? Pack the heaviest and the lightest of your luggage and return to a place where the grass is the “lush”. obviously, there’s something still keeping you here.

      Sure, most people have high expectations of traveling overseas but not everyone wants to work hard and of course, it is by God’s grace that some of those who have actually worked hard have been successful but I can assure you that success wasn’t a piece of cake. it takes hardwork, creativity, the tenacity to push further when others have given up and of course good Government to crack open the lid to success. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to that and that my friends is the truth!.

      I know some self-righteous ignorants may rant and probably say all sort of crap but i’m sure any smart person will see through that and probably use that as a measure of success or ignorance. Good Luck everyone!

  11. Lams

    October 27, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    BN, please also write an article for other people, who defy the norm, and have experienced, the grass being greener on the other side. We need a different perspective, form the usual, it is not greener, on the other side. Please, please. Let us lift ourselves up, with success stories. At least, the couples we see on BN weddings (those who live abroad), are people, who obviously have made it

  12. Young Fab

    October 28, 2012 at 7:44 am

    Like is not easy outside Nigeria but our youth’s still don’t get it. Am friend has been persuading me to come Down to Turkey but I told him that things are difficult here but he still insist on coming. We need to educate our youths!!! N:B Life is a bit better here than home.

  13. Young Fab

    October 28, 2012 at 7:46 am

    Life is not easy outside Nigeria but our youth’s still don’t get it. My friend has been persuading me to come Down to Turkey but I told him that things are difficult here but he still insist on coming. We need to educate our youths cuz our future leaders are leaving the shores of our country everyday!!! N:B Life is a bit better here than home though.

  14. Michelle

    October 28, 2012 at 9:30 am

    God help us sha with this craze over leaving Naija

  15. faith

    October 28, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    In 210, just five hundred thousand naira prevented me from goin to d uk to do my maters…I later got a job in Nigeria, quited d job n am married n doing business now…thank God I didn’t go!

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      October 29, 2012 at 2:59 pm

      Right… because nobody ever gets a job, runs their own business or get married AT ALL where you were supposed to go?? I’m happy it worked out for you but your opportunities can lie anywhere, don’t promote the mindset about certain “locations” are not able to produce any of your desired rewards.

      However, and saying that, I strongly advise people to stick to going only as far as their faith and resolve can take them. Don’t go somewhere just because someone else has and had good things to say, go if you feel strongly within your spirit and have YOUR OWN determination to make things work for YOU.

  16. konnie

    October 29, 2012 at 12:25 am

    What is sad is that other people will still attempt to do the same dumb stuff. May God help his children

  17. declan

    October 29, 2012 at 7:31 am

    He cant ever think or hope of getting to US like that, irrespective of what the circumstances are. He’s not normal; must have had a mental problem.

  18. kem

    October 29, 2012 at 8:06 am

    too much movie, or he thought he was jack bauer, he probably was one of their staffs, how did he get there…rip

  19. Declan Robertt

    October 29, 2012 at 8:11 am

    UNBELIEVABLE!!! What a way to go in search of greener pastures. What a waste. This is too unreal to believe. If it is, I believe he is either mad or have a mental problem? Someone may have murdered and dumped him there; nothing is impossible in Nigeria. Pls Nigeria, government investigate this properly; especially for the breach in security. Wonder how he expects to get abroad like that, no matter what the circumstances are. Walking would have been better, instead. He must have had some collaborators d airport. What a way to die. RIP.

  20. D Fairy GodSister

    October 29, 2012 at 11:22 am

    It’s a shame that this young man died in this very avoidable manner. Life abroad is not a walk in the park, as a matter of fact it is easier to make and keep your money in Nigeria because our tax laws are a lot less stringent. Apart from the basic amenities that are functional and very efficient, I don’t see what the lure is. Especially when the option to get there is to hide in the wheels compartment!

    My heart goes out to his family, who may or may not have been aware of his plan. May God comfort them. Amen.

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