26 February 2018

Nigeria: Aircraft Poaching - MMIA Security Agents Indict VIPs, Suspect Blackmail

Chief security officer of Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Sadiku Mamman , has opened up on the likely cause of frequent burglary of aircraft load compartments which has been on the increase in recent times.

Speaking in a chat recently in Lagos, Mamman said that the aircraft poaching, an act that was alien to the Lagos airport became common immediately after they took a second look at the entire airport security system after October last year.

Mamman therefore, emphasised that the frequent cases of aircraft poaching may not be unconnected to certain persons in the society because the security agencies at the airport have adopted and started a system that they can no longer breach. He pointed out that the frequent incidents of burglary increased as soon as some drastic measures were taken against very important personalities (VIPs) as it regards security breach at the airport.

He said , "I remember before this, we have not had all these and as at October last year, on the basis of national security, that all of us stand here, there was a document that came. That document requested us to address a lot of challenges and on the basis of that, the entire airport security system decided to sit down and take a look at it and we have to rise up to the occasion by writing, which to a larger extent is not favourable to some people."

Mamman lamented that whenever such incidents occur, people were always in a hurry to rush to the press without trying to find out why it actually happened. The security expert who is seriously worried why the incidents were more prevalent in Lagos airport complained that some people were given preferential treatments whenever they were coming into this country and that nobody asks them what they entered the country with.

"Flight will park, a big man will just go out and when you are going, security agencies are not allowed to do their job. You can only peep and go back; so with that, we rose to the occasion and we have to challenge all those powers. The next thing we saw because I was given an intelligence report, that they would come back, and that they will follow us," Mamman narrated.

Warning that security agencies should be prepared for blackmail, the security chief stated that they have equally put some security measures on ground and that all of them are working with unity, just as he informed that they were also rejigging their operations at the airport.

Corroborating Mamman's views, another security expert and the head of MMIA terminal security, Oni Adedamola , said that their discoveries after investigation of the first poaching incident were both political and social. Oni however, attributed the incidents to the atmospheric condition of Lagos airport in Ikeja.

He said, "We learnt from the investigation that Lagos airport has a special humidity and that by the time an aircraft is landing in Lagos, there are certain things, the humidity or the cloud or whatever will trigger off in the aircraft, for example, the Canadian pilot of the particular aircraft I am talking about, he is not a Nigerian but he made us to understand that when you are approaching Lagos airport and you are landing, the dashboard in the cockpit, there are certain things that trigger off because of the atmosphere."

One of the things that could trigger off according to Oni is that the baggage compartment light would show. "Not only that, the humidity will ignite some other indicators in front and if you do not know and you are not conversant with Lagos, you will think somebody is opening your compartment and that was what happened in the second incident when the pilot did not report the case until after 36 minutes," Oni explained.

Oni said that some of the reported cases of missing bags cannot actually be proved, stressing that the recent case alleged by the Air Peace which was not confirmed by a pilot coming behind was a good case in point.

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