Mrs Monsurat Sunmonu, the Honourable Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, on Thursday caused a stir at the Ibadan airport as she had altercations with staff of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) on duty at the airport. Mrs Sunmonu who was billed to travel to Abuja via an Arik Air flight slated for 1.45 pm, had her luggage taken to the check-in counter by her aides.
Trouble started when one of the FAAN staff asked them to open the bags so that checks would be conducted. The aides however refused. The airport staff however insisted that the bags had to be checked, the status of the owner notwithstanding. This apparently irked the aides who brought the matter to the attention of their principal.
The Honourable Speaker too declined to have the bag opened thus raising suspicion as regards the contents of the bag. The airport staff stood his ground to the annoyance of the Speaker.
As boarding time gradually elapsed, it became clear to the Speaker and her aides that without opening the bag, the Abuja trip might have to be aborted. Not even the Speaker’s “raking” could make the FAAN officials budge. Eventually, the bag was opened and it was found to contain money.
The Speaker was unmistakeably annoyed as she was heard issuing threats as she boarded the aircraft. By the time she boarded, it was found out that the flight had been delayed for almost half an hour.
The drama however continued within minutes of the Speaker’s exit as policemen attached to her whisked away the FAAN staff who insisted on opening the bag. They arrested him for being “rude to the Speaker”. The two-star FAAN official was later returned to the airport in the same police pick-up van that was used in taking him away.
Street Journal’s checks revealed that airport regulations stipulate that only bags that bear diplomatic seals may be exempted from being searched. It was also found out that the Ibadan airport still uses the conventional search method because scanners have not been made available.