The tight security at the strategic area of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, has been breached as a Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) officer was said to have forcefully opened a security gate for his Comptroller; an action that is against security operations in the area.
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has frowned at the action, lamenting that the blatant abuse of the privilege of bearing firearms by the NCS has become a recurrent threat to the safety and security of “our staff and our operations.”
Spokeswoman for FAAN, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, in a statement recalled: “At about 1745hrs on Thursday, January 20, 2022, while the Aviation Security (AVSEC) officers on day duty at Gate 3 were profiling a NAHCO vehicle that wanted to access the Security Restricted Area (SRA) via Gate 3, the Customs Area Comptroller for Hajj and Cargo Terminal suddenly emerged and pulled off behind the NAHCO vehicle that was being attended to and CSC Agunbiade.
“A Customs officer on the Area Comptroller’s entourage later shoved aside the AvSec officer at the gate, forcefully took over the gate, and opened the gate for the Comptroller and his escorts to forcefully access the Security Restricted Area via the gate.”
She explained that while accessing the gate, the armed escorts to the Comptroller threatened to beat up the AvSec officers at the gate if they dare resist their assault and breach of security.
“While we keep on working to resolve all our challenges decisively, we hereby urge all stakeholders to please respect our mandate by being of disciplined and professional conduct in the interest of national security and operational safety,” she pleaded.
Many sensitive areas of Nigerian airports have come under incessant breaches by people who are expected to be aware of the rules around airports that are governed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
In 2020, the head of the Department Security Services (DSS) at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, Safiyanu Abba, was accused of slapping a security officer at the airport. FAAN said the DSS boss had prevented security officers at the airport from performing a mandatory check on a passenger.
It further stated that Abba, the Head of DSS at NAIA, deliberately obstructed the airport security process, and slapped an Aviation Security Officer who was performing his duty by calling on Mr Safiyanu Abba to desist from doing so.
“This happened on July 17th at about 15:25 hours. He breached security procedure by obstructing further searching of a visitor who had just walked through the metal detector and activated the alarm,” the statement read.