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FAAN Management Confirms Theft of Airfield Lighting System at Lagos Airport

The area where it was removed is near the bushes surrounding the airside but officials said it would be difficult for an outsider to remove it.

The Management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has confirmed that the airfield lighting installed at the international runway of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMIA), Lagos, known as Runway 18R, has been stolen.

Management also confirmed that part of the airfield system was stolen in May weeks after rehabilitation work started on the runway and international flights were diverted to the domestic runway, known as Runway 18L.

Our reporter learnt that after the first part of the system was stolen, the Managing Director of FAAN, Kabir Mohammed directed the Head of Electrical Services to remove the remaining part of the airfield system but this directive was not obeyed and that remaining part of the airfield lighting was stolen after the first theft.

Livid about the incident, FAAN Management queried all the personnel on duty and suspended 10 personnel, including Chief of Airport Security, Head of Department (HOD) Electrical and HOD environment.

THISDAY also gathered that the management directed that investigation should be carried out but when the report was submitted to the FAAN management, the Managing Director noticed that it was only the junior workers that were indicted and he directed the Director of Human Resources (DHR) to set up a committee to carry out comprehensive investigation into the incident.

Meanwhile, FAAN management, which carried out inspection on airport facilities at the Lagos airport on Monday, has fortified security at the airport airside, known as sterile area.

THISDAY learnt that part of what the agency is investigating is whether the theft was insider job, especially as the directive to remove the remaining airfield lighting was ignored.

THISDAY also learnt that the area where the facility was removed is near the bushes that surround that part of the airside, which had recorded many incursions in the past.

But FAAN officials who spoke to THISDAY on the condition of anonymity said that it would be difficult for “an outsider who is not familiar with the facility to come and remove it and if an outsider removes it, what is he going to do with it and it will be difficult for an outsider to boldly come to the highly restricted area to remove the lighting.”

THISDAY also learnt that FAAN security, which is a joint operation of security operatives from Air Force, Aviation Security and Nigeria Police patrol the breadth of the runway many times every night.

With the new directive given to them by FAAN management, the security operatives have fortified their personnel and deployed more patrol vans to make sure that security at the airside of the airport is tightened.

However, industry observers said that the investigation being carried out by FAAN is important because it would unravel those behind the theft, stating that the agency must do everything possible to avert insider threat, which is when people within the organization sabotage it.

In aviation, it is when airport personnel use his position to gain access or connive with others to steal, kill or cause terror at the airport.

Chinedu Eze

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