Barely two months after the 18R runway airfield lightings of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA) Lagos were stolen at the airport by yet-to-be-identified persons, the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) personnel early Saturday morning intercepted another thief attempting to cart away sensitive cable at the same airport.
A statement by Mr Abdullahi Yakubu-Funtua, Director, of the Public Affairs & Consumer Protection Department of FAAN, said that three thieves were involved in the dastardly act to cart away the cables.
He, however, said that while two of the suspects escaped, one Usman Musa sustained gunshot wounds and was subsequently arrested by the guards on duty at the Nigeria Air Force headquarters NADC Gate of the airport.
Suspect Apprehended and Investigation Ongoing
According to the statement, at about 01:35 a.m. on Saturday, the thieves were sighted digging the FAAN underground armoured cable by the perimeter fence of the military personnel along the airport road, using a digger, shovel and cutlass to perpetuate the criminal act.
Yakubu-Funtua stated that on sighting the guards, the thieves took to their heels, while one of the guards opened fire on them, aiming at the shoulder of Musa.
The statement added:
- “Usman Musa, 28 years old, is a native of Adamawa State, residing at Ijora. He sustained gunshot wounds in the process.”
Yakubu-Funtua stated that the suspect was subsequently arrested and taken to 661NAFH Ikeja.
He emphasized that Musa is presently receiving treatment at General Hospital Oyingbo and would be properly interrogated after he has stabilized.
FAAN claimed that this incident could be a relevant clue to unravelling the theft of the runway lighting at the Lagos Airport.
History of Airport Security Breaches
Recall that in May, the airfield lightings of Runway 18R of MMA were vandalized twice.
The management of FAAN immediately set up a committee to investigate the stolen equipment.
The committee allegedly indicted only the junior workers, a situation which did not go down with Mr Kabir Mohammed, the new Managing Director of FAAN.
This, NewsTimes gathered led to the setting up of another committee headed by Mr. Shehu Mohammed, Director, Human Resources and Admin, FAAN, to carry out a comprehensive investigation into the incident.
FAAN had earlier queried all the personnel on duty and suspended 10 of the staffers, which included the Chief of Airport Security, Head of Department (HOD) Electrical and HOD environment.
Our correspondent learnt that part of the airfield system was earlier stolen in May, weeks after rehabilitation work started on the runway and international flights were diverted to the domestic runway, known as Runway 18L.
It was gathered that after the first part of the system was stolen, Mohammed directed the Head of Electrical Services to remove the remaining parts of the airfield system, but this directive was disregarded, while the other parts of the airfield lighting were stolen after the first theft.