Suspected burglars late on Thursday allegedly attacked an Air Peace aircraft while taxing at the Murtala Muhammad Airport (MMA) in Lagos.
The aircraft, a Boeing 737, was attacked, with its cargo compartment allegedly opened at 7:35 pm, prior to takeoff to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
But the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), owners and managers of the airport, denied any such incident.
The alleged encroachment, The Guardian learnt, was immediately detected by the captain, who aborted the flight for a round of security checks prior to resumption of the operation. As a result, the flight was delayed for two hours.
Communications Manager of Air Peace, Chris Iwarah, confirmed the incident, while a passenger aboard the aircraft also tweeted about it.
The airline expressed appreciation to "all passengers onboard for their cooperation and understanding throughout the precautionary security checks conducted by Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) squad, FAAN, Aviation Security (AVSEC) and its security team after suspected thieves opened the cargo hold of our aircraft holding for departure on Runway 18R (A1) of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, about 7.35pm on Thursday, February 8, this year.
"Pilot-in-Command, Capt. Adesola Arasi, had to contact control tower when he was alerted by the light that came on in the cockpit, suggesting that the cargo hold was opened for about 15 seconds and immediately shut.
"In line with our security standards and the huge value we place on the lives of our guests and crew, Arasi insisted on having EOD squad check Flight APK 7138 before takeoff to be doubly sure nothing was deposited in the cargo hold by the suspected thieves to endanger the lives of our guests and crew.
"Our guests, who were fully briefed of the development by the pilot, were advised to disembark from the aircraft and board an Air Peace bus, while the joint security operation by EOD, FAAN AVSEC and our security team lasted.