The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) says armed security operatives who stormed the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos State, were on routine security operation.
Henrietta Yakubu, General Manager, Corporate Affairs of FAAN disclosed this in a statement while reacting to an exclusive story by SaharaReporters.
“What took place was a routine security operation by a Joint Aviation Security Task Force comprising personnel from Aviation Security (Avsec), Department of Security Services (DSS) and Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to rid the airport of touts and miscreants, in accordance with Standards and Recommended Practices,” she said.
“FAAN is committed to her core values of Safety, Security and Comfort.”
SaharaReporters had reported how Nigerian Air Force personnel stormed the airport on Thursday intimidating passengers as they tried to maintain a stronghold on the airport.
Sources had told SaharaReporters that the NAF personnel, fully armed, stormed the terminal building, harassing passengers.
According to one of the sources, an Air Force Commander led his team to the terminal building, all bearing assault rifles despite the written warning that weapons were not allowed in that part of the airport.
He recalled the invasion of the airport by the armed personnel led to a state of apprehension among passengers, with a scared foreigner thinking it was a ‘terrorist attack’.
“The air force is trying to militarise a civilian airport. They formed a barricade outside and use it as their own car pack. They intimidate people with guns. They came into the terminal building armed to the teeth, harassing passengers. A lot of people were scared. A white lady thought there was going to be a terrorist attack on the airport.
“Their commander led them into the terminal building armed with assault rifles. It’s even written that weapons are not allowed in that place, that part of the airport and these people came in with AK-47,” he had said.
Another source had noted that the military men invaded the place in anger because their commanders were invited to Abuja over recent viral videos depicting the rot and extortion at the airport.
He alleged that the same Air Force personnel are responsible for recruiting touts from Oshodi to extort passengers at will.
“All of these because their bosses were summoned to Abuja; this comes after that video of the woman alleging corruption at the airport that SaharaReporters published and a video made by a white guy.
“The security chiefs at the Airport were summoned to Abuja. But the thing is, these airforce guys are the same guys that extort arriving passengers. They even bring touts from Oshodi to come to coordinate the parking space for them so they collect money from people instead of directing them to the real car park.”
Some weeks ago, an American vlogger, Sabbatical called out the airport officials for requesting money at different points, in a video that has now gone viral.
He described the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos as “extremely corrupt.”