Bomb scare stirs apprehension at Lagos hajj camp
Muslim pilgrims awaiting airlift in Lagos were yesterday thrown into panic following the discovery of an abandoned luggage suspected to house Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
The failure of officials to link the bag to anyone further worsened fears at the cargo terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) where the pilgrims were preparing to board their scheduled flight.
The Guardian learnt that the area was deserted for fear of explosion.
Sounds following the arrival of security operatives sent shock waves down the spine of cargo export operatives as scores scampered for safety.
An official at the terminal, who simply identified himself as Emeka, said it was indeed a scary moment not helped by “loud explosion” initially linked to the rumoured bomb.
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), however, refuted the claim. Its General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Henrietta Yakubu, confirmed that the unattended bag was noticed at the hajj and cargo terminal after the departure of the fourth flight.
She said: “The Chief Security Officer of the Federal Airports Authority, Hajj and Cargo Terminal as well as the Bomb Disposal Unit were contacted and the process of finding out the owner and the content of the bag immediately began.
“No one claimed ownership of the bag, so the decision to blow up the bag using an explosive device was made, which in turn caused some panic among the second batch of intending pilgrims.”
After detonation, it was discovered that the bag contained some copies of an Islamic guide meant for the pilgrims to expedite their journey.
FAAN advised passengers to be cautious of their belongings, and ensure that all properties are securely kept.
“The Authority would like to assure the general public that there was no bomb and the Hajj and Cargo Terminal is safe for flight operations,” she added.