Officers of the Nigeria Customs Service have breached the security system at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria announced on Monday.
FAAN alleged that the Customs Area Comptroller for Hajj and Cargo Terminal and his officers breached the security architecture at the Lagos airport on Thursday as they assaulted Aviation Security officers on duty and forcefully took over Gate 3 of the airport.
The authority disclosed this in a statement issued by its spokesperson, Henrietta Yakubu, adding that such security breaches were becoming recurrent and must cease.
The statement read in part, “At about 17.45hrs 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 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.”
It added, “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.”
FAAN stated that it would keep on working to resolve all its challenges decisively, but urged all stakeholders to respect its mandate by being disciplined and professional in the interest of national security and operational safety.
Reacting to the development, the NCS through its spokesperson, Joseph Attah, queried FAAN’s right in declaring a gate restricted from Custom personnel in a cargo airport.
Speaking in a telephone interview with The PUNCH, the Customs spokesperson said FAAN officials were exhibiting a false sense of superiority.
He said, “I have read the statement and it clearly shows that the officials are ignorant of the rules. You can’t restrict a gate to Customs in a cargo airport. What is your intention for doing that, that intention is suspicious?
“Are you creating a route for those who want to smuggle cargo out of the country? And will you also do the job of Customs at that gate?
“And instead of engaging each other to understand each other’s role, you are issuing a statement and making it public and saying we should respect your mandate.
“So I think the best thing is for the senior officials to engage each other and understand their roles instead of demonstrating this false sense of superiority.”
Attah, therefore, called for an engagement between the two bodies in order to understand their roles and prevent similar future occurrences.