There was a palpable fear yesterday morning at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) as an unattended bag at the hajj and cargo area of the terminal caused scare.
The bag, which was neatly tied was said to contain bomb, planted at the area where pilgrims process their travelling documents before being taken in a bus to the international airport for departure to Saudi Arabia.
A source close to the scene of the incident told our correspondent that the bag had been at the spot since Monday evening when some pilgrims from Lagos State arrived and processed their travels.
It was gathered that the attention of the Bomb Disposal Unit of the airport was drawn to the bag who in turn brought sophisticated equipment to difuse the alleged bomb.
The source purported that the equipment used caused a heavy bang, which shattered the rooftop of one of the offices closed to where the bag was and also created a big hole in the wall.
However, after the blasting of the bag, it was discovered that the contents contained booklets left over by the Lagos State Pilgrims and Welfare Board.
The booklets it was learnt are distributed to pilgrims from the state, prior to their travelling to Saudi Arabia for the annual hajj exercise in Saudi Arabia.
It was also gathered that the booklets were unused and ought to have been returned to the board by the officials of the state, but was left behind.
The source said: “We all resumed for woke this morning to find a bag, which was unattended to here. At first, we thought it belonged to one of the officials here, but none claimed it’s ownership.
“You know, because of the security situation of the country, you can’t leave anything to chances. So, we had to call the security agencies to difuse the content, which later was discovered that the bag contained booklets by Lagos State officials.
“But, unfortunately it caused some damage to our building. However, it was good we made the attempt.
Meanwhile, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria has refuted a rumoured bomb scare at the Hajj and Cargo Terminal of the Murtala Muhammed Airport
According to general manager public affairs FAAN, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu said that about 9:30am, an unattended bag was noticed at the Hajj and Cargo terminal, after the departure of the 4th flight for the intending pilgrims. The Chief Security Officer of the Federal Airports Authority, Hajj and Cargo Terminal as well as the Bomb Disposal Unit were contacted and began the process of finding out the owner and the content of the bag.
According to Yakubu, no one claimed ownership of the bag, so the decision to blow up the bag using an explosive device was made, which in turn caused some panic amongst the second batch of intending pilgrims waiting.
She said after detonation, it was discovered that the bag contained some copies of an Islamic guide; meant for pilgrims to guide them with regards to their journey.
passengers are advised to be cautious of their belongings, and ensure that all properties are securely kept.