How officials connived, carted away Lagos airport runway light



The airfield lighting systems at the domestic runway 18/36L of Murtala Muhammad Airport, Lagos have been stolen by some yet-to-be identified workers.


It was gathered that the workers took advantage of the closure of the runway, which have lasted for about three months.


The equipment, which aids aircraft to take off and land at the domestic airport at night, was installed on the 2.7 kilometres long runway in November, 2022.


Emerging reports indicate that the incident led to massive suspension of top officials at the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, following the directives of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Aviation, Dr Emmanuel Meribole.


A source who pleaded anonymity, alleged that some FAAN workers had connived with outsiders to steal the airport lighting equipment.


He said: “The criminal took advantage of the closure to commit the crime. I cannot give the actual worth of the theft, but almost all the lighting was removed.


“The permanent secretary came around to see for himself the huge damage done. A lot of FAAN officials have been suspended.


“Investigations had since commenced to unravel those responsible for the missing safety equipment.


“The regular incursion and stealing of safety components at the airports are carried out by a syndicate, consisting of some workers of the agencies, who have access to the restricted areas and accomplices from outside.


Reacting to the development, a former Military Commandant at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Group Capt. John Ojikutu, said, “This is not new at MMA. I wish the FAAN management could go back to 1990 when similar things happened in the airport. I was convinced that it was an ‘insiders threats’. What did I do? I positioned soldiers on the runways and ensured that no FAAN maintenance staff went near the runways for anything without my approval; otherwise, it was shoot at first sight. It stopped completely. Runway lightings were being stolen and my conclusion then was that runway lightings can only be useful for runways and not roads or houses.


 “Those stolen were being sold to FAAN by the same workers. That is why I am not in support of the unions carrying the picketing of their employers to the airport’s security controlled areas.”


According to the Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, FAAN, Mr Yakubu Funtua, “Investigations had been launched and that the agency would do all within its powers to avoid a reoccurrence.


“FAAN is doing all it can to get to the bottom of this. You are very aware that there are many agencies within the airport, including the different ones that are supposed to be taking care of security there. So, it would be unfair to put this (the theft) on our (members of) staff and I don’t think there is any FAAN (member of) staff that wants the agency to crash.


“Note that most of our revenue comes from Lagos. So, what kind of staff will ‘kill the goose that lays the egg?’ However, we can’t say exactly who did it, but we are doing all that we can to recover what is lost. We are going to recover it because we are going to find out those people who did it and then block all those loopholes.”

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