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Two Nigerian Agencies Clash As Airports Authority Lambasts Customs Over Failure To Follow Security Checks

January 25, 2022

While FAAN accused customs officers of forcefully gaining entrance into a restricted area, the security agency said the statement showed a lack of understanding of its role.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and the Nigeria Customs Service on Monday night traded words on Twitter over claims that the operatives of the latter forcefully got access to a restricted area.

While FAAN accused customs officers of forcefully gaining entrance into a restricted area, the security agency said the statement showed a lack of understanding of its role.


“At about 1745hrs on Thursday, January 20, 2022, while the AVSEC officers on day duty at Gate 3 were profiling a NAHCO vehicle that wanted to access the Security Restricted Area (SRA) via gate 3, the Customs Area Comptroller for Hajj and Cargo Terminal suddenly emerged and pulled off behind the NAHCO vehicle that was being attended to and CSC Agunbiade, a customs officer at the gate, forcefully took over the gate and opened the gate for the Comptroller and his escorts to forcefully access the Security Restricted Area via the gate,” Henrietta Yakubu, General Manager, Corporate Affairs of FAAN, said in a statement.

“While accessing the gate, the armed escorts to the Comptroller threatened to beat up the AVSEC Officers at the gate if they dared resist their assault and breach of security. The blatant abuse of the privilege of bearing firearms by the NCS has become a recurrent threat to the safety and security of our staff and our operations.”

Reacting via its verified handle, NCS said, “Saying that a gate is restricted to Customs in an international cargo airport shows lack of understanding of NCS roles. Could it be that the gate is being made available for smugglers?

“The senior officials of both agencies should engage and understand each other's roles instead of this display of false sense of superiority.”

This is not the first time two agencies and appointees would be trading words publicly under the Muhammadu Buhari-led government.

In 2020, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), and Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, took on each other on Twitter.

In a video tweeted by NiDCOM, Dabiri-Erewa accused Pantami of ordering gunmen to throw out staff of her commission from an office that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) gave them.

According to Dabiri-Erewa, “in one year, we don’t have an office. The office we got, given to us by NCC but we were actually driven away by the honourable minister of communications and digital economy, Mr Isa Pantami, within two days, they drove us out with guns and what happened? The place was given to us by NCC.”

Responding almost immediately, Pantami described NiDCOM CEO’s claim as a “fat lie.”[story_link align="left"]81211[/story_link]

“The minister has never given that directive to any gunman,” he said via Twitter.

The NCC came in to also deny Dabiri-Erewa’s claims.

But NiDCOM immediately countered NCC’s claim and tweeted another video showing some of its staff who were “locked out” of their office.

The agency also said the “notice of evacuation was given via a text message on February 9”.

Again, Dabiri-Erewa would come back for Pantami, accusing him of disrespecting women.

“An Islamic scholar should not lie, Hon. Minister,” she said, adding that; “Your disrespect for women is legendary.”

Also in 2020, Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, and Adebayo Somefun, Managing Director of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), had a running battle that eventually led to the suspension of Somefun.

In a letter dated July 1, 2020, and addressed to Somefun, Ngige said the president had approved the suspension of the management Somefun heads over “misappropriation and other gross misconduct.”

Somefun was instructed to hand over to the most senior official in the board, and face a panel that would investigate procurement dealings of the agency from 2017 to 2020.

But Somefun resumed at his office, saying the president did not give such instruction.

He also said the minister’s action is against Buhari’s directive, through the secretary to the government of the federation that no minister should suspend, or purport to sack any head of agency appointed by the president.

But after the back and forth between both men, which led to a combative argument between Ngige and James Faleke, a member of the reps committee which summoned the minister over the issue, Somefun had to heed the suspension terms.

In 2017, men of the Nigerian Air Force and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) engaged one another in a gun duel at Murtala Muhammed Airport Lagos, a development which resulted into one NDLEA officer being injured.