Lagos – A middle-aged man was on Wednesday arrested after breaching security at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, and attempted to attack a Med-View aircraft that was about to take-off to Maiduguri en route Abuja Airport.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that the suspect, Alabibu Olushola, was arrested after the captain of the airline attacked him using jet blast from the aircraft.
The attack by the captain was as a result of his attempt to gain access to the aircraft which was waiting on the threshold of the Runway 18 of the airport for take-off.
A reliable aviation security personal who spoke anonymously with a NAN correspondent, said the airline had just left MMA2 terminal for take-off at about 12.30 p.m. when the incident occurred.
“The captain of the aircraft suddenly discovered that someone was moving closer to his aircraft even as passengers who were observing the unusual movement raised the alarm.
“However, the captain who had alerted the control tower had to move forward to stop the suspect from getting near the aircraft.
“When he realised that the suspect was running after the moving aircraft, he attacked him with jet blast which caused the suspect to fall down on the runway.
“The suspect was, however, arrested by airport security operatives as he quickly recovered and attempted to escape from the air side of the airport,’’ the source said.
According to the source, Olusola sustained burns because of the heat from the jet engines.
Reacting to the incident, the General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr Yakubu Dati, confirmed that the airport’s vigilant security personnel arrested the suspect.
Dati, in a statement claimed that Olushola was apprehended while attempting to stowaway in a taxiing aircraft on the tarmac at the airport.
“The suspect was arrested as soon as he scaled the perimeter fence near the moving aircraft and after interrogation by Avsec staff he was immediately handed over to the police for further interrogation,’’ it said.
The statement said that FAAN reminded members of the public to stay clear of restricted areas of the airport, including the tarmac and perimeter roads.
“These areas are prohibited for unauthorised people, including airport staff, who have no business being there. This is more so in view of the present security situation in the country,’’ it said.
The statement said FAAN would henceforth not hesitate to arrest and prosecute any person, including unauthorised airport staff, found loitering around restricted areas of all the airports.
Also, Med-View Airline, in a statement by its Media Consultant, Mr Obuke Oyibotha, commended its crew and security agencies for the arrest of the suspect.
The statement noted that the return of the aircraft to the tarmac for security check was in line with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) recommended best practices on aviation security.
According to the statement, the Maiduguri bound aircraft via Abuja was taxiing to the threshold for take-off when the pilot sighted a man on the active runway.
It added that the pilot alerted the control tower about his observation and requested for aviation security personnel.
It said: “While still taxiing, the pilot noticed that the same man has crossed to the threshold and was moving towards the aircraft, and had to alert the control tower again for security.
“The man got entangled with the engine thrust and the pilot increased the speed of the engine before he was picked up by security agents.
“The pilot asked for permission to return to base where security agencies, including Bomb Disposal Squad conducted a thorough check on all passengers, luggage and the entire aircraft before appropriate clearance was given. (NAN)