The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has suspended the Airport Manager, Terminal Manager and Head of Airport Security at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja over a security breach involving agitated passengers of Turkish Airlines who forced their way into the tarmac and barricaded the aircraft.
Sirika ordered the suspension after listening to explanations by the airport officials on the incident on Sunday in Abuja stating that explanation by the officials of the airport that the security personnel on duty were overpowered was not acceptable.
The Minister ordered an investigation to ascertain the cause of the breach of passengers involving airline and also wanted to find out why Turkish Airline brought in passengers without their luggage.
The three suspended officials were ordered to handover to their next in rank pending the conclusion of the investigation.
He stated that the actions of the passengers by forcing their ways into the tarmac and blocked the aircraft from taking off was a security breach which must not be condoned.
“There has been an unfortunate incident where some agitated passengers of the Turkish Airlines arrived without their luggage making them to force their way into the tarmac which is a breach of security.”
“`The explanation given is not satisfactory because the primary purpose of the government is to ensure safety of lives and property of its citizens.
“The cardinal objective of this administration is to secure the country and manage it and we cannot fail in aviation and we cannot fail in this important assignment at a very important point.
“`We have ordered for the investigation into the matter immediately and all the people that are manning the various places, Airport Manager, Terminal Manager and Head of Security should handover the next man in rank pending the outcome of the investigation.
“As to the airline also, the Consumer Protection Unit of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has been ordered to find out what happened, how compliant they are and deal with it accordingly,’’ he said.
Sirika said the ministry was yet get the flight manifest to be able to ascertain the number of passengers involved which he added were many in number.
According to him, they got agitated and apparently they got access into the prohibited area because there was security lapse.
Earlier, Mr Bashir Hausawa, Acting Head of Security explained to the minister that the security personnel were overpowered by the angry passengers over the non-arrival of their luggage.
Hausawa added that the shortage of manpower was responsible for the incident adding that there was only one man manning luggage area of the airport during the incident.
He said they were 192 security men manning the whole of the airport resulting in the shortage of manpower distribution to various units of the airport