FAAN launches investigation into alleged theft on taxing aircraft
A gang of thieves allegedly burgled an aircraft on the runway of Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos on Tuesday, carting away belongings of its crew.
The private jet with registration number 9H-VFA, owned by Vista jet and operated by EAN Aviation was taxing at about 9:30pm on Tuesday, December 12, 2017, when the incident happened.
While FAAN yesterday said investigation had begun, aviation security experts are worried about the implication for industry safety, saying it further exposes “the poor security architecture” at the airports.
Sources at the airport confirmed to reporters that the plane, on arriving from Istanbul, Turkey, was burgled on motion. They ripped open the plane from the rear and made away with valuables.
Another source said the pilot of the aircraft, Emma Heering, discovered that the rear door of the aircraft was opened while taxing to the hangar of EAN. He discovered that a big black bag belonging to the airhostess, Francesca Louis, was missing from the jet.
The alleged air-side burglary incident, which is rare, is coming just about three months after the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) certified MMIA as compliant with all international safety procedure.
FAAN General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Yakubu Henrietta, said a combined team of FAAN’s Aviation Security Department, Airport Police Command and other relevant security agencies “have swung into action to reveal the perpetrators of this act and to prevent future reoccurrence of such.”
Aviation Security expert, Group Captain John Ojikutu (rtd) told The Guardian that the incident is due to FAAN’s negligence and “NCAA and FAAN will bear the consequence of any security and safety disasters that occur as a result of negligence on the part of FAAN such as the one at hand.
“I have repeated several times that we do not have security fences (as mandated by Annex 17 requirements of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) at our airports but perimeter fences (Annex 14 requirements).
“What if it was a terrorist of Boko Haram affiliate? What if those before this on Arik at Benin airport and the two copycats after it were terrorists? These were the questions that were asked then and nobody in FAAN and NCAA did anything.
“I called for the audit of the airport security programme and that of Arik Air; nothing happened even when another happened on Med-View (stowaway on Lagos-London route) and now this. Watch and see if anything would happen. It’s a sick industry in a sick nation,” Ojikutu said.
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