FAAN suspends security heads over stowaway arrested at Lagos airport

Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi

A yet-to-be-identified man was on Friday arrested for attempting to climb aircraft at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.

Passengers aboard a Port Harcourt-bound Azman Airline flight shot a video of the man who illegally gained access to the airside and tried to climb into the aircraft said to be waiting for clearance to take off.

The video showed the man climbing the wings of the aircraft with registration number 5N-HAI and later deposited a hand luggage inside one of the engines.

The airline confirmed the incident in a Twitter post, saying  the pilot saw the man walking towards the aircraft and called the control tower before shutting down the engines.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria said the incident which caused panic among passengers was  under investigation.

The General Manager, Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Mr Henrietta Yakubu, said the  aircraft was made to taxi back to the apron for a thorough check before departing for Port Harcourt.

She said, “At about 1009 hours, aviation security officials of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria arrested an intruder who was sighted trying to climb into an Azman aircraft waiting for clearance from Air Traffic Controllers.

The pilot of the Azman aircraft with registration number 5N-HAI departing Lagos for  Port Harcourt reported the incident and Avsec officials swiftly responded. The man has been apprehended and is now in Avsec’s custody. The authorities  are  already investigating the incident.”

She stated that since it was a  security breach, the man had been handed over to the police.

Following the incident, Yakubu said FAAN had suspended indefinitely the aviation security unit heads who were on duty when the incident occurred, pending completion of ongoing investigation into the  security infringement.

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The affected officers, according to the agency, are the Airport Chief of Security, Mamman Sadiku; International Terminal Security Officer, Oni Abiodun; Head of Department, Domestic Terminal 2, Owotor Okezie, and Head of Department, Domestic Terminal 1, Badejo Ayodele.

Yakubu said, “In the interim, a general manager of the authority, Dr. Anne Enyinnaya-Egbadon, has been detailed to take charge of security at the airport. Other affected officers have also been replaced. The current arrangement is aimed at ensuring an efficient and thorough investigation towards the recovery and sustenance of the airport’s proactive security integrity.

“FAAN views this breach as a serious security concern and has commenced investigation to ascertain the causes of this incident and forestall future occurrence.”

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