The bomb response drill conducted by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria on Saturday at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, led to pandemonium among the passengers and airport users.
The drill, conducted with bomb simulated exercise, was to assess the airport’s response capacity and procedures in the event of a real bomb attack at the terminal building.
The coordinating spokesperson of aviation agencies, Yakubu Datti, said it was an essential requirement for certification by International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO.
Following the loud bang from the simulation exercise, PREMIUM TIMES learnt passengers and airport users started running helter-skelter out of the terminal building, fearing it was a terrorist attack.
A bureau de change operator, Ronke Yusuf, said people were shouting “bomb o”, “Boko Haram o”.
However, FAAN officials and other security operatives were present to reassure the passengers that the exercise was just routine.
Some security operatives evacuated passengers from the terminal for fear of stampede as people scampered for safety.
The pandemonium happened, in spite of the re-assurance and prior notification of the exercise by FAAN, with some passengers even afraid to return to the terminal for their flights.
Ms. Yusuf said although she and others had been notified of the exercise, they still feared and ran because they didn’t know the exact form it would take.
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Datti said the exercise was a success, adding that FAAN remained committed to safety and security in line with requirements of ICAO best standards and practices.
“Flight operations were not disrupted as a result of the exercise, and FAAN wishes to apologise to passengers and members of the public who were caught unawares, even though prior information was given earlier and was even published in some newspapers,” he said.