Vocal former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, treats Nigeria’s airport security rules and procedures with disdain, SaharaReporters has learned.
Airline and airport sources told our correspondent that he habitually violates the procedures, particularly at airport security checkpoints in Lagos.
Several concerned passengers also told SaharaReporters of their observations on three separate trips between March and September this year when Mr. Fani-Kayode refused to submit himself for the routine security body check after he had triggered off metal detectors.
They separately gave the dates of her observation as March 10, June 16 and September 16, affirming that the former Minister always offered security officials the same primitive and arrogant excuse that he was a former minister of aviation and as such could not submit to a search. On those occasions, she said, he was let through, unsearched, despite the groaning of other passengers.
Airline and airport sources said Mr. Fani-Kayode has behaved in this manner for a long time. During our investigation, it was discovered that in April 2006, before he became a Minister, he was stopped from traveling by one Mr. Okuyiga who was at the time the Airport Manager of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport for refusing to submit himself to a security check.
When Mr. Fani-Kayode became the Minister of Aviation two months later, we learned, he made his first task at that airport the redeployment of Mr. Okuyiga, leading to the resignation of the Airport Manager.
One airline official who spoke to SaharaReporters anonymously claimed he has observed Hadi Sirika, the current Minister of Aviation, submit himself to the same screening several times and cannot understand why security officials cannot insist that Mr. Fani-Kayode go through the same procedures. He also claimed that some of their passengers who doubt Mr. Fani-Kayode’s mental health always complain that airline operators and security officials are endangering their lives by not ensuring his compliance.
Commenting on the issue, another passenger told our reporter said he doesn’t how such a thing can happen in today’s security climate.
“It seems the former minister still has much influence on the aviation ministry, this can only happen in Nigeria and it’s insane,” he lamented.