Passengers were alarmed as they saw a man climb onto the wing of their aircraft as it prepared to depart Murtala Muhammed International in Lagos on Friday.

The domestic flight out of the Nigerian capital, was taxiing on the runway when an unidentified man was spotted by pilots approaching the plane on foot.

To their horror and in full view of the passengers the man proceeded to climb the left plane wing. This dangerous stunt was apparently an attempt to gain access to the cabin of the 737 jet.

The airline praised the quick thinking of the Captain, who "took a preemptive effort to shut down the engines" of the plane as he saw the man approaching, potentially saving the trespasser's life.

Advertisement

In a statement the airline says the individual was arrested by airport security, and was taken into custody for further questioning.

The panicked passengers were taxied back to the gate and disembarked while the plane and its cargo was inspected following the unexpected boarding.

While Azman is still baffled by the motive of the brazen stowaway, the airline was satisfied that the plane was safe to continue its journey, saying:

"All passengers were re-boarded, and the flight operated as scheduled."

Local media have speculated that it could have been an attempt to sabotage, stowaway or even a suicide attack.

Nigerian paper, The Daily Post, claims additional footage shows the man depositing a bag inside one of the stalled engines before he climbed aboard.

While the motive and identity of the man on the plane wing is still to be made clear, Nigerian news agency (NAN) reported the man on the wing claimed he was trying to fly to Ghana, however he refused to tell security how he gained access to the guarded airfield.

The airline later announced that the Nigerian airports authority (FAAN) had suspended the heads of airport security for their actions during the "regrettable security infringement."

Advertisement

"The current arrangement is aimed at ensuring an efficient and thorough investigation towards the recovery and sustenance of the airport's proactive security integrity," Azman Air said.

"FAAN views this breach as a serious security concern and has commenced [an] investigation to ascertain the remote and immediate causes of this incident to forestall future occurrence,

This incident comes three weeks after a stowaway was killed after gaining access to an international Kenyan Airways flight KQ100.

It was presumed the man involved incident "already had access to the airside" with the Director General of the Kenyan CAA speculating that he was probably an airport employee.

He told the BBC "because with the way security is tight, it's unlikely that an outsider would have been able to make his way through to the airside."

The identity of the man arrested airside at Lagos Airport is yet to be released.