At Lagos airport: Passengers, crew make use of torch to disembark from plane

• Airport officials use flashlight for screening during boarding of another flight

About 250 passengers aboard the KLM Airways flight KL587 from Amsterdam, Holland, were subjected to harrowing experience on Friday evening after a section of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, was thrown into darkness.

This is despite the billions of naira the government has spent on the refurbishment of the nation’s airports. In the 2019 budget alone, N21.5 billion was earmarked for airport run-way construction and other facilities.

Though the Lagos airport is regarded as the heart of and inroad to the country’s economy, nothing, according to some of the passengers who spoke to Tribune Online on Friday evening, suggested that the government or the operators of the airport understood the enormous damage they were doing to the country.

Tribune Online exclusively learnt that the passengers were made to wait in the aircraft for over 15 minutes after their plane had landed at the airport as a result of a power outage on the tarmac up to the Immigration point.

ALSO READ: Xenophobia: South Africa’s President, Ramaphosa apologises to…

According to one of the passengers who narrated the ordeal of the passengers to Tribune Online, after the initial hitches, the passengers could not disembark from the plane after landing at 7 45 pm, as the pilot and crew informed them of the power outage in the passage leading to the Immigration point and advised them to wait for electricity
to be restored.

“The whole tarmac was in darkness,” one of the passengers told Sunday Tribune. “Even passengers whose flight had been announced to proceed for boarding to Amsterdam were screened through phone flashlight and camp light by the KLM airline desk staff. Imagine conducting boarding with phone flashlight and what could happen. What if any of the
passengers were carrying a weapon, how would they know?” he queried.

According to him, Friday evening was a sad day for him and other passengers as Nigerians. “What we witnessed was really shameful.”

Fearing that the passengers could be injured in the dark, the pilot and crew, he stated “provided torchlight and rechargeable lanterns for us to be able to get to the immigration point to do our clearance.

“We had to use the torchlight to get to the immigration point, which had light,” the passenger said.

The story, however, did not end there. According to another source, the passengers had to endure another
round of agony after the conveyor belt developed a fault.

“We had to wait for some time as the conveyor belt developed a fault after working for some minutes. It was shameful,” she stated.

Another set of Nigerian returnees from South Africa whose flight had just touched down at the Murtala Muhammed Airport were also caught in the ugly saga of electricity outage at the airport.

It was heard on the public address system as the returnees were being directed to the designated centre where they were to be attended to. A number of them were later heard lamenting about their “jumping from the proverbial frying pan in South Africa into a fire in Nigeria” with the grim darkness that welcomed them back home.