The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) have been embroiled in a Twitter spat over alleged security breach in Lagos Airport.
On Monday, FAAN accused the Customs Area Comptroller for Hajj and Cargo Terminal and his officers of violating security at Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) last Thursday.
The agency accused the customs officials of assaulting aviation security officers on duty and forcibly taking over gate 3.
In a release titled ‘Breach of Airport Security: Customs officials forcefully open security gate,’ FAAN General Manager Corporate Affairs Henrietta Yakubu, said it was not the first time the NCS would take such action, demanding an end to it.
The statement reads in part: “At about 17.45hrs on Thursday, January 20, 2022, while the AVSEC officers on day duty at gate 3 were profiling a NAHCO vehicle that wanted to access the security restricted area via gate 3, the Customs Area Comptroller for Hajj and Cargo Terminal suddenly emerged and pulled off behind the NAHCO vehicle that was being attended to.
“And CSC Agunbiade, a customs officer on the area comptroller’s entourage later shoved aside the AVSEC officer at the gate, forcefully took over the gate and opened the gate for the comptroller and his escorts to forcefully access the security restricted area via the gate.
“While accessing the gate, the armed escorts to the comptroller threatened to beat up the AVSEC officers at the gate if they dared resist their assault and breach of security.
“This blatant abuse of the privilege of bearing firearms by the NCS has become a recurrent threat to the safety and security of our staff and our operations.”
Reacting to the statement, the NCS, via its verified Twitter handle, @CustomsNG, said: “Saying that a gate is restricted to customs in an international cargo airport shows a lack of understanding of NCS roles. Could it be that the gate is being made available for smugglers?
“The senior officials of both agencies should engage and understand each other’s roles instead of this display of a false sense of superiority.”
The response did not sit well with FAAN.
On Tuesday, it stated MMIA was not a dedicated cargo airport and the NCS had no right to breach security protocol.
“It’s a cargo terminal in Murtala Muhammed International Airport. MMIA is not a dedicated International Cargo Airport.
“In the interest of national security, all airfields worldwide are security restricted areas (SRA), be it a cargo or a non-cargo airport,” FAAN tweeted.
“We must not trivialise this matter as about @FAAN_Official or the @CustomsNG; it’s about the dignity and safety of our security personnel that are regularly being assaulted and humiliated in public.
“It is unacceptable, because they are also humans with families, and fellow citizens discharging no less important national responsibility.”Follow us on social media