FAAN Accuses Customs of Breaching Airport Security at MMIA


Chinedu Eze

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has accused the Nigeria Customs Service of breaching airport security by forcefully opening security gate at the Cargo Terminal of the airport.

FAAN explained that in airport management, Aviation Security (AVSEC) personnel of FAAN are recognised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as being in charge of airport security.

Therefore, the agency stated that other security operatives support and ought to take directives from FAAN.

It, however, accused Customs officials of breaching security protocol by unilaterally opening security gate against the rule of engagement.

FAAN officials said this was against the regulation of ICAO and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), which regulates air transport in Nigeria.

FAAN in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, alleged that at about 7:00 pm Thursday, January 20, 2022, while the AVSEC officers on day duty at Gate 3 were profiling a NAHCO (Nigeria Aviation Handling Company Plc) 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 up behind the NAHCO vehicle that was being attended to and a customs officer (CSC Agunbiade) in the Area Comptroller’s entourage later shoved aside the AVSEC Officer at the gate, forcefully took over the gate and opened it for the Comptroller and his escorts to forcefully access the Security Restricted Area via the gate.”

FAAN further explained that while accessing the gate, the armed escorts to the Comptroller threatened to beat up the AVSEC officers at the gate if they dared 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,” FAAN said.

In April 2016, an official of the Nigeria Customs Service attached to the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, had beat a female staff of FAAN to coma at the entrance gate of the Cargo Terminal, prompting the agency staff to be rushed to the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) hospital.

Few months before this incident, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) officials had also allegedly beaten up FAAN officials for preventing them from gaining access to the restricted areas of the airport without On-Duty-Cards (ODCs).