By Chinelo Obogo, Lagos
The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has alleged that officials of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) at the cargo terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos Command breached airport security by forcefully opening the gate at the cargo terminal.
A statement from FAAN spokesperson Mrs Henrietta Yakubu said the Customs officials shoved aside aviation security personnel on duty at gate before breaching security.
‘At about 1745hrs on Thursday, January 20, 2022, while the 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.
‘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.
‘This 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.
‘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,’ Yakubu said.
Responding to the allegation, the official Twitter handle of the NCS, said that FAAN’s insistence that a gate is restricted to Customs in an international cargo airport shows lack of understanding of NCS roles.
‘Saying that a gate is restricted to Customs in an international cargo airport shows lack of understanding of NCS roles. Could it be that the gate is being made available for smugglers?,’ NCS queried.