Fear enveloped the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) as an unattended bag at the Hajj and cargo area of the terminal caused a scare.
The bag, which was neatly tied was said to contain bomb and planted 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 diffuse 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 its 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 diffuse 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. You never can tell.”
Spokesperson for the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, in a statement confirmed the bomb scare.
She said, “At 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 was contacted and began the process of finding out the owner and the content of the bag”.
She noted that 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, Yakubu stated that 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.
She assured the general public that there was no Bomb, adding that the Hajj and Cargo Terminal are safe, secure for flight operations.