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Following Increased Incursions, FAAN Strengthens Security Around Restricted Areas at Lagos Airport

The move is to forestall further theft of critical equipment needed for safe flight operations.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has made moves to end access to the restricted areas of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, known as airside by unauthorised persons to forestall further theft of critical equipment needed for safe flight operations.

The agency said that it is collaborating with the Nigeria Air Force to further fortify the restricted areas which host the runway and vital landing aids like the airfield lighting, instrument landing system and other aeronautical facilities.

FAAN said this had become necessary to ensure that series of incursions recorded last year and the previous years, where unauthorised persons accessed the restricted areas and made away with some items would not happen again.

With the rehabilitation of the international runway of the airport, known as Runway 18R/36R, which was put back into service on Saturday, FAAN in a statement said the Military Airport Commandant, Group Capt.  ED Okolo has issued a restraining order against anyone caught trying to gain access into the runway of the airport through the perimeter fence.

FAAN said it had observed that there was an increased rate of incursion into the airside through the perimeter fence.

It said that to forestall the theft of the safety critical equipment at the restricted areas, anyone caught at the airside of the airport would be severely punished.

“FAAN is therefore appealing to the general public to please desist from illegal incursion into the airport environment through the perimeter fence.  Perimeter encroachment is highly prohibited, and criminal offenders risk prosecution or possibly being shot at.  Every unauthorised or illegal structure around the airports would be pulled down.

“The authority is also appealing to those who do not have any business at the airport to stay away.  Anyone caught touting or loitering at the airport vicinity will be arrested and prosecuted.  The Joint Military Task Force ( JMTF) has  intensified  their operations  and made several  arrest recently.  Airport users are also advised to park at designated car parks.  Please avoid parking at drop-off zones to avoid being towed,” FAAN said in a statement.

Last year airfield lighting system was stolen by unknown persons who gained access to the restricted areas of the airport. This prolonged the rehabilitation work at the runway because the agency had to replace the equipment before reopening the runway for flight operations.

FAAN also set up a team to investigate several incidents of theft at the airports because the suspects who stole the cables did so more then once.

The first time they came they stole a part of the lighting system and the second time they stole whatever remained of the system.

It was also confirmed that after the first part of the system was stolen, FAAN management directed the Head of Electrical Services to remove the remaining part of the airfield system, but this directive was not obeyed; the remaining part of the airfield lighting was stolen after the first theft.

This led to the suspension of 11 officials whose duties were connected to protecting the stolen facility, the airside and who had access to the runway and environs.

Before the latest measure deployed by FAAN in collaboration with the Nigeria Air Force, the airside of the airport was very porous.

Chinedu Eze

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