IT was a serious pandemonium on Wednesday at the Margaret Ekpo International Airport, Calabar, as a man whose name was given as Elijah broke the airport security gates and drove straight into the tarmac and right under a fully loaded commercial aircraft that was Abuja-bound.
The man, who is now in the custody of the Nigerian Air Force at the airport, drove through the NAF base at the airport, knocking down the first and second gates with his vehicle, painted in the commercial taxi colours of Cross River State. The cab was marked XA254 KMM.
After the man got stuck under the ARIK aircraft number 5N-MJJ, security personnel, including bomb disposal and fire service operations personnel at the airport immediately rose to the occasion, evacuating all the passengers from the flight and immediately arrested the man.
Details of the man were sketchy at press time but his name was given as Elijah. The particular flight was cancelled and the passengers had to wait for over three hours while another aircraft was brought in to take a few of them who were still determined to make the trip after the scare to board the alternative aircraft with registration number 5N-MJC. Some of them decided to go for another airline while a few others cancelled their trip for that day.
The deputy governor Cross River State, Mr. Efiok Cobham, who has been acting for over three weeks since Governor Liyel Imoke was flown to America for medical treatment, led some members of the state executive council to the airport, joined by the state commissioner of police.
The pilot, Simon Robison, told the deputy governor that in his 35 years of flying, he had never witnessed a thing like that.
He told the deputy governor that their technical team would have to jerk up the aircraft before the terrorist suspect car could be taken out.
Though normal flights had since resumed at the airport, there were fears as to why a peaceful place like Calabar could be a terrorist target.
The airport manager and the air force commandant, as well as Arik officials, all refused to speak with the media at the time of this report.
The United States embassy in Nigeria, on Wednesday, said it had raised its security alert status because of “continuing worldwide terrorist threats against US citizens.”
An e-mail sent to Americans living in Nigeria did not give details of the threats.
“Due to continuing worldwide terrorist threats against US citizens, US government facilities and interests, the US Mission in Nigeria, which includes the US Embassy in Abuja and the US Consulate General in Lagos, has increased its alert status,” the notice said.
A text message purportedly sent by Fulanis had warned of more violence in Nigeria.
Fulani herdsmen were responsible for the slaughters of people in some villages of Plateau State in early March.
In the text message sent to the GSM handsets of some Nigerians, the Fulanis warned that nobody should ever fight a war, whether hot or cold, against them.
Their 10-point of superiority and justification for their recent actions read: “Never fight a war (hot or cold) with the Fulani because they have no rules of engagement as they just hit.
“There are no prisoners of war (POW) in their fight (because) they don’t take prisoners of war.
“They have no mercy once they pick you out as an enemy.
“They have no fighting fatigue as they are forever fit and prepared due to their lifestyle.
“For them, there is no need for adequate provisions and permanent abode as they live on very little and sleep in the wilderness.
“They don’t have any end to hostilities as they always fight to the finish.
“For them, there is no ignorance of terrain and location as their lifestyle makes everyone of them a human Global Positioning System (GPS).
“They have no deterrence due to casualties, as they are strategically distributed all over West and Central Africa and they are highly mobile.
“They have no need for tranquility as they have no permanent settlements which need peace to thrive.
“Additionally, they have no fear of consequence as they are extremely fatalistic and ready to die in defence of their honour and cattle.”
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