Security officials stop screening along airport road

Security officials stop screening along airport road

By Okechukwu Nnodim

October 18, 2010 02:50AM

Barely two weeks after the introduction of thorough screening of motorists and air travellers by security operatives along roads two kilometres away from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, the safety exercise has been terminated.
The increased security, which came as a fallout of the October 1 twin bombings in Abuja, and was aimed at curtailing the influx of people into the airport, resulted to series of complaints by passengers and airport users following the high vehicular traffic it caused on the roads during the period.
“They (security operatives) have stopped screening us and our passengers for some time now, and it is surprising because we thought it was going to last,” said a cab driver at the airport, who simply gave his name as Anthony. Explaining that the situation caused travellers and commuters untold hardship following the traffic jam that resulted from the development, Mr Anthony said that activities along the road has so far return to normal. “Some of us almost increased our transport fare, because we burn a lot of fuel on the holdup, but you can see that everything is now okay and there is no more holdup as we use to experience that time,” he said.
High security alert

Anosike Bright, a passenger at the airport, argued that the recent terror scare in Abuja must have led to the disappearance of the officers. “May be they (security operatives) have all relocated to Abuja because of last week’s threat to bomb the capital again by militants,” he said. However, Akin Olukunle, the spokesperson for the Federal Airports Authority, said that the security checks have not ceased, but refused to comment on why the officers are no longer seen on roads leading to the airport.
NEXT, last week, reported that security operatives, including the Nigerian Air Force, Police Anti-Bomb Squad, Immigration, Civil Defence Corps, and Aviation Security were all stationed on roads at about two kilometres away from the international terminal, where they enforce screening on both commercial and private motorists using the airport.

Richard Aiseubeogun, the Managing Director of the airports authority, had earlier urged the public to assist the agency in its fight for a safe and secured airport, adding that with respect to the prolonged traffic, passengers should endeavour to leave for the airport early. “We want to advise members of the local communities and all stakeholders to report any strange or unusual activities within the airport environment to security agencies nationwide,” he said. “We appeal to all airport road users to cooperate with the officials involved in the screening exercises, to ensure smooth facilitation, and undue delays.”

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