June 3, 2023

The lawyer of the anti-Tinubu passenger aboard an Abuja-Lagos flight has disclosed that his client, Mr Obiajulu Uja, from Oji-River Local Government Area, Enugu State, will be charged on Monday.

The lawyer, Ejike Ugwu, queried the decision to prosecute Uja, whom he said was mentally challenged.

Ugwu said,” The DPO said the man will be charged on Monday; this is a man that we said is mentally ill. Have you conducted any medical examination on him to know whether he is mentally fit to be charged to court? On what grounds are you charging?”

Earlier, The PUNCH reported that Uja announced that the president-elect, Bola Tinubu, must never be sworn in on May 29.

In a video obtained by our correspondent, it was observed that no fewer than six airport security officers removed him after he held the plane for more than an hour.

According to Ugwu, the passenger, a former bank worker in Lagos, had been in Abuja for a few weeks.

 “The man worked with Zenith Bank until he developed some health issues. Some days ago, Riz Continental Hotel, Abuja, chased him away from the hotel because of his mental instability,” the lawyer added.

He further stated that Uja bought three tickets on Friday for Lagos State, noting that on getting to the airport, he (Uja) had issues with almost all the airlines before he eventually boarded Ibom Air.

Ugwu said when he asked him what happened, “he told us that he wanted to market his products and that he was just trying to get the attention of the passengers when he raised the issue of Asiwaju will not be sworn in.”

“If you go through his social media, you will understand that he is not even a member of the Obedient movement. But the long and short of it is that the man is mentally unstable.

“After he was arrested and the DPO saw reports in the media, the DPO confided in me that the man is not a normal person.

“It’s just the system; I told the DPO that you do not even need a medical certificate from the family but as an investigator, employ the services of a psychiatrist to confirm the mental stability of the man. But as I speak with you, I left the police station around 5pm and we have not seen the DPO today in the station,” he added.

Speaking further, the lawyer said, “I told the DPO that this man needs medical attention immediately before the whole system will collapse.

 “He has a kidney problem; if you see his legs you will see how swollen they are. You can only investigate someone that is alive.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria on Saturday disclosed that the passenger had been handed over to the police.

The Acting General Manager, Public Affairs, FAAN, Mrs Faithful Hope-Ivbaze, disclosed this to our correspondent in Abuja.

Also, the Group Manager, Marketing and Communication, Ibom Air, Aniekan Essienette, said,” The airport securities were the ones that evacuated him and once we hand him over to the aviation security, it becomes their problem. So, we would wait for them to get back to us if there are any further directives.”

Earlier, Ibom Airlines apologised to passengers for the delay they experienced while the management tried to disembark the passenger.

Essienette, in a statement, noted that the airline quickly waded into the situation and caused the passenger to be forcefully disembarked as a last resort.

The Assistant Secretary General of Aviation Round Table, Olumide Ohunayo, said, “The man doesn’t appear okay. I mean he started misbehaving from the check-in counter, so they ought to have alerted the crew that an agitated person was going on board; he even didn’t appear okay when he was asked to leave the aircraft. However, we need to be careful of copycats.”

 The Nigeria Police Airport Command also said the suspect would be charged on Monday with criminal intimidation and public disturbance.

The Investigating Police Officer, Benson Okoh, said, “He’s with us, I was trying to confirm to the PPRO. However, he’ll be charged to court on Monday for criminal intimidation and inciting public disturbance.”

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