Russain runway lights stolen

The theft has been blamed on staff members with access to restricted areas, according to Nigerian media

Thieves in Nigeria have stolen the lighting system for one of the runways at Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos, a spokesperson for the country’s aviation authority reported on Tuesday.

Yakubu Funtua said it was unknown when the airfield system had been removed from the facility, but investigations are underway to identify the “criminals” and recover the stolen equipment.

FAAN is doing all it can to get to the bottom of this,” he added, as quoted by Nigeria’s Punch newspaper.

However, an unnamed source told Punch that the thieves had taken advantage of the fact that the runway had been closed for months due to maintenance, and gained access to steal the lighting system.

According to the source, safety components at airports are frequently stolen by a “syndicate” of staff with access to restricted areas and outside “accomplices.”

The ground lights had only been installed in November of last year, after the domestic runway was reopened for night operations after being closed for 15 years due to a lack of airfield lighting.

According to local media, domestic airlines were forced to divert to the international section and travel around four kilometers (2.5 miles) back to the right terminal, causing flight disruptions and putting financial strain on management.

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John Ojikutu, a former military commandant at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, also told Punch that workers within the airport could be responsible for the theft.

This is not new at MMA. I wish the FAAN management could go back to 1990, when similar things happened at the airport. I was convinced that it was an insider threat,” he said.

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