The Governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri, on Wednesday, violated the airport security procedures, particularly at airport security checkpoints at the Terminal 2 of the Murtala Muhammed Domestic Airport in Lagos.
Eyewitnesses told SaharaReporters that the governor and his aides treated the airport security rules and procedures with disdain.
The governor had arrived at the airport for the inaugural flight of United Nigeria Airlines to Bayelsa International Airport.
Upon arrival at the airport around 12pm, the governor and his aides headed for the screening points where they displayed outright disregard for the rules at the airport which triggered the security alarm system, sources said.
Speaking to SaharaReporters, a passenger who witnessed the incident said, “The airport security officials did everything to get them to undergo the procedure at the security checkpoint but they refused to put their bags through the screening x-ray machine.
“They kept saying the bags belonged to the governor and they all forced their way through the checkpoint. The alarm system was activated.
“They might have gone on the plane with their weapons. The airline (United Nigeria Airline) should, naturally, return all of them to the screening point because the captain shouldn’t fly anyone who has refused to be checked on a commercial flight,” another eyewitness, who is a foreigner, said.
“It’s sort of disappointing that a top-level government official is doing this and enabling his aides to do the same.
“The airport security officers pleaded with the governor and his aides but that did not stop them from flying even though this is a basic rule in the aviation industry. It’s insane, this can only happen in Nigeria.”
This is not the first time powerful Nigerians, especially politicians, would refuse to follow security procedures at airports in Nigeria.
In 2017, SaharaReporters exposed how a former aviation minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, constantly breached airport security procedures.
Airline and airport sources told our correspondent that he habitually violated 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.
The dates were March 10, June 16 and September 16. They revealed that the former minister always offered security officials the same “arrogant” excuse that he was a former minister of aviation and as such could not submit to a search.