Saturday, 6 April 2019

Pilot’s bag stolen from private jet at Lagos airport

Thieves broke into a private jet operated by ANAP Jets at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMIA), Lagos, Thursday and stole a bag belonging to the pilot, our reporter gathered yesterday.

The jet which was said to be owned by a renowned entrepreneur, Chief Atedo Peterside, was allegedly vandalized after landing at the airport.

Sources said after the aircraft landed, the Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) on duty put it on hold due to traffic congestion at the airport.

It was in the process that some suspected thieves allegedly appeared from the bush and opened the cargo compartment from where the bag was stolen.

Our source gathered that the bag contained personal effects of the pilot.

“They must have heard media stories of planes carrying money in Ghana-Must-Go bags only to break into one of ours to find that it contained only one bag that had a pilot’s personal effects in it: pyjamas, underwear, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc that the pilot needed for a night stop”, our source said.

It was not the first time a case of pilfering was reported at the airport, though the airport manager, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), denied all the cases, saying it was practically impossible for anyone to rob an aircraft in motion.

It would however be recalled that in February 2018, burglars allegedly attacked an Air Peace plane during take-off procedure to Abuja. Also in December 2017, there was also a reported robbery on a private jet conveying two Nigerian musicians, Ayodeji Balogun, popularly known as Wizkid and Tiwa Savage.

The reported cases also triggered re-jigging of the security architecture of the airport as FAAN deployed Follow Me patrol vehicles to escort every aircraft arriving at the airport.

In 2017, FAAN in a statement then dispelled the allegations. The authority in a statement then noted that in both instances, preliminary findings from investigations conducted by an inter-agency committee could not substantiate the claims. The purported victims in the said cases also did not make themselves available for questioning in the quest to unravel the case.

FAAN General Manager, Public Affairs, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, said the agency would issue a statement on the latest incident which was being awaited at the time of filing this report. An airport security source said the allegation of aircraft poaching cannot be substantiated.

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