In a shocking incident that highlights the pervasive issue of organized crime in Nigeria, a criminal gang targeted Lagos Airport and successfully stole a significant portion of the newly installed runway lighting.
According to local media reports, thieves managed to steal a substantial portion of the runway 18R/36L lighting at Lagos Murtala Muhammed International Airport. Rather than a few lights, the criminals made off with nearly all of the newly installed lighting, resulting in extensive damage to the airport’s infrastructure. The stolen lighting system had been installed just last November and was instrumental in ensuring safe nighttime operations at the airport.
The theft has raised questions about the vulnerability of Nigeria’s key infrastructure, particularly the aviation sector. The incident highlights a recurring problem in the country, with criminal gangs targeting not only airports but also bridges, warehouses, pipelines, and other facilities to pilfer valuable materials such as copper, oil, and automotive parts. The audacity of stealing crucial runway lights reveals the extent to which organized crime thrives, even in high-security areas.
Authorities investigating the theft suspect that the criminals received assistance from individuals with insider knowledge. As a result, seven employees at Lagos Airport have been suspended pending further investigation.
The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has initiated an investigation into the matter and is working to apprehend the criminals and recover the stolen equipment. This is not the first time Lagos Airport has faced security challenges. The airport has witnessed previous incidents of theft, including an attempted robbery of an aircraft on the taxiing area. The recurrence of such incidents underscores the urgency for comprehensive security assessments and effective preventive measures to safeguard the airport and its operations.