There has been a major security breach at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, SaharaReporters exclusively gathered.
An Arik Air aircraft, a Boeing 737-73V with registration number EI-ULN, was ransacked by thieves, who stole the Flight Management Computer, one of the major subsystems of the Flight Management System.
The FMS is an on-board multi-purpose navigation, performance and aircraft operations computer designed to provide virtual data and operational harmony between closed and open elements associated with a flight from pre-engine start and take-off, to landing and engine shutdown.
The FMC, according to aviation experts, is worth hundreds of thousands of United States dollars.
Reliable sources at the airport and Arik Air confirmed to SaharaReporters that the incident happened between 11:00pm on Wednesday night to 7:00am on Thursday, January 20, 2022 at the Domestic Terminal II.
The thieves did not only vanish with the FMC but also tampered with the pilot static cover and other sensitive parts of the aircraft, making it impossible for the aircraft to be flown.
Aviation experts told SaharaReporters that the act could have only been carried out by persons with aircraft technical skills.
“It is impossible for a novice to have successfully removed the FMC, that thing was stolen by an expert,” one aviation source said.
Flights originally scheduled for the aircraft were either cancelled or postponed.
The aircraft was leased to Arik by Eznis Airways LLC, an airline based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Authorities have since suspended flights on every of the aircrafts leased by the Mongolian company.
Breach of security at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport continues to raise concerns among citizens and major stakeholders in the sector.
There had been reports of security breaches at the car park in recent times with vehicles parked at the facility reportedly vandalised.
Recall that SaharaReporters had detailed how security at the domestic terminal of the airport appears compromised as faulty equipment were being used to screen bags of travellers making use of the airport.
It was also discovered that security screeners deployed by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria to MMA Terminal Two are not certified by the National Civil Aviation Authority to carry out the screening.
In 2019, there was an airside incursion at the airport as passengers aboard a Port Harcourt-bound flight panicked after a man climbed the aircraft while it was about to take-off at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja.
According to a video shot by one of the passengers in Lagos, the man illegally gained access to the airside with a piece of hand luggage.
SaharaReporters had also previously reported how a Nigerian woman bypassed all security points at the international wing of the airport and attempted to sneak into a United States of America-bound Delta Air Line.
She was, however, arrested by security as she was about to board the aircraft.
It was reliably gathered that of the not less than 629 staff of FAAN Aviation Security at the Lagos airport, about 85 security personnel are NCAA screeners certified.