The sound of explosion caused by the blowing up of an unaccompanied luggage at the hajj and cargo terminal of the international wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport around 9am today caused panic and sent airport users and intending pilgrims scurrying for safety.
It was gathered that an unattended luggage near the area where pilgrims process travel documents was suspected to have contained a bomb.
Consequently, vigilant airport workers called the attention of the bomb disposal personnel who brought their tools to defuse the suspected bomb.
The blowing up of the bag produced a loud report which sent airport users and intending pilgrims scampering away in fright.
However, after blasting of the luggage, it was discovered that it contained booklets issued by the Lagos State Pilgrims and Welfare Board.
The booklets, it was learnt, were distributed to pilgrims prior to their travel and the unused materials were supposed to have been returned to the board by the Lagos State officials.
“We all resumed for work this morning to find an unaccompanied bag. At first, we thought it belonged to one of the officials here, but none claimed ownership.
“You know, because of the security situation in the country, you can’t leave anything to chance. So, we had to call the bomb disposal people who came and blew up the bag. We discovered that it contained booklets issued to pilgrims by Lagos State officials.
“The blasting caused some damage to our building. Nevertheless, it was good we alerted the authorities,” said the source.
In its reaction, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) confirmed the incident saying there was no bomb scare and assured that “the terminal is secure for flight operations.”
In a statement issued and signed by FAAN’s general manager, corporate affairs, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, the agency said: “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 FAAN, Hajj and Cargo Terminal as well as the Bomb Disposal Unit was contacted and began the process of finding out the owner and the content of the bag.
“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.
“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.”
FAAN therefore advised passengers to be cautious of their belongings and ensure that their belongings are securely kept.