Nigerian Air Force personnel, on Thursday, stormed the Murtala Muhammed Airport, intimidating passengers as they tried to maintain a stronghold on the airport.
Sources told SaharaReporters that the NAF personnel, fully armed, stormed the terminal building, harassing passengers.
According to one of the sources, an Air Force Commander led his team to the terminal building, all bearing assault rifles despite the written warning that weapons are not allowed in that part of the airport.
He recalled the invasion of the airport by the armed personnel led to a state of apprehension among passengers, with a scared foreigner thinking it was a ‘terrorist attack'.
“The airforce is trying to militarise a civilian airport. They formed a barricade outside and use it as their own car pack. They intimidate people with guns. They came into the terminal building armed to the teeth, harassing passengers. A lot of people were scared. A white lady thought there was going to be a terrorist attack on the airport.
“Their commander led them into the terminal building armed with assault rifles. It's even written that weapons are not allowed in that place, that part of the airport and these people came in with AK27.”
Another source noted that the military men invaded the place in anger because their commanders were invited to Abuja over recent viral videos depicting the rot and extortion at the airport.
He alleged that the same Air Force personnel are responsible for recruiting touts from Oshodi to extort passengers at will.
“All of these because their bosses were summoned to Abuja. This comes after that video of the woman alleging corruption at the airport that SaharaReporters published and a video made by a white guy.
“The security chiefs at the Airport were summoned to Abuja. But the thing is, these airforce guys are the same guys that extort arriving passengers. They even bring touts from Oshodi to come to coordinate the parking space for them so they collect money from people instead of directing them to the real car park.”
Some weeks ago, an American vlogger, Sabbatical called out the airport officials for requesting money at different points, in a video that has now gone viral.
He described the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos as “extremely corrupt”.
“I have been around the world and I have never seen anything like this. I mean, it’s extremely corrupt. Picture corruption.
“The Nigerian airport, the Lagos airport is that very definition of corruption that would pop up in a dictionary. Literally everywhere,” he said.
Also, a female content creator, Alina Oliver made videos in parts explaining the corruption she witnessed at the airport, specifically as regards extortion.
SaharaReporters had earlier reported that a staff member of Arik Airlines has been arrested by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) for allegedly soliciting a bribe from a passenger at the general aviation terminal in Lagos.
The on-duty card of the erring staff was also withdrawn immediately, and she was handed over to the relevant security agency for appropriate action to serve as a deterrent to others, Henrietta Yakubu, General Manager, Corporate Affairs of FAAN said.
Meanwhile, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) had warned that bribe-seeking workers at Nigeria’s airports will be barred for life from working at airport terminals across the country if caught.
The FAAN Managing Director, Captain Rabiu Yadudu, said this while addressing newsmen in Abuja after an emergency meeting with FAAN’s management over rising cases of bribery at airports.
However, that was not the first time the regulatory agencies would threaten to curb open extortion and other corrupt practices at airports, particularly at MMIA, without any change.