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Insecurity: How increase in airfares could put more Nigerians at risk

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THE recent increase in the price of air travel in Nigeria may put the lives of more Nigerians at risk of kidnapping, armed robbery and accidents on the road.

Two weeks ago, airlines in Nigeria increased their airfares to N50,000 per trip for local travellers across the country.

On March 9, five airlines, Dana Air, Air Peace, Arik Air, Ibom Air and United Nigeria Airlines were forced to delay flights due to scarcity of aviation fuel.


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The Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, Allen Onyema, on behalf of the Airline Operators Association of Nigeria (AOAN), said on Monday that the hike in airfares was caused by scarcity of aviation fuel.

Onyeama warned that airfare could increase to N100,000 for a single trip. This is over 60 per cent above the Nigerian minimum wage.

Many middle-class Nigerians may be unable to travel by road due to the increase in the price of air travel tickets within the country.

There are indications that the increase will force many Nigerians to travel by road.

In recent times, many Nigerian highways have recorded several cases of armed robbery, kidnapping and abduction, as well as fatal road accidents.

Major roads like the Abuja-Kaduna, Abuja-Lokoja and Benin-Auchi highways are hotspots for kidnapping, abduction and armed robbery.

Also, the rate of fatal road accidents in Nigeria has increased in recent years. The ICIR had reported that in 2019, 5,483 persons died from road crashes, while 5,574 died in 2020. The number of deaths from road accidents rose to 6,205 in 2021.

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A Security Risk Management and Intelligence Specialist Kabiru Adamu told The ICIR that the increase in airfares would force more people to travel by road.

“Definitely, insecurity is a function of frequency; if more people are travelling on the road, their vulnerability to road-related risks will increase.

“There are several road-related risks, starting from road accidents, highway robbery, kidnapping, ambush by armed gunmen, armed robbers and others. So that will definitely happen. If before now five people are travelling by the road and all of a sudden, 5,000 people start travelling, their vulnerability increases,” Adamu told The ICIR.

Another security expert, Ademola Lawal, said the hike in the cost of air tickets will lead to increased insecurity because people who cannot afford the new prices will begin to travel by road.

Lawal said Nigerian roads are unsafe, a situation which, according to him, will put more Nigerians’ lives at risk.

“It (insecurity) will increase because more and more people with affluence who cannot afford the new airfares will put their vehicles on the road and therefore become targets of criminals who will want to take advantage of the situation,” Lawal said.

Acting Spokesperson of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) Olumuyiwa Ademola did not respond to inquiries on what the Force is doing to mitigate the expected risks.

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Also, Bisi Kazeem, spokesperson for the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), did not respond to calls. A text message sent to his phone was not replied.

However, Adamu advised the security agencies to increase surveillance on locations where criminal activities are rampant on various highways across the country.

“They need to increase surveillance where these actors (criminals) are playing, although we know that they hide in the forest, but they come out on the road and do what they do. So increase surveillance, especially in ungoverned spaces,” Adamu said.

He also urged the security agencies to have early warning systems in communities surrounding the ungoverned spaces and deploy mobile units that can speedily address any security observation.

“They should also speak to commuters who intend to travel about increased safety measures. For example, to avoid night travels and travelling in convoys as against travelling alone, especially where the risk is too high,” Adamu noted.

Author profile

Lukman Abolade is an Investigative reporter with The ICIR. Reach out to him via labolade@icirnigeria.org, on twitter @AboladeLAA and FB @Correction94

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