Four full-body scanners given to the government of Nigeria to detect explosives and drugs at its International airports were not in use when the man suspected of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound flight crossed through airport security. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab only went through a metal detector and had his bag X-rayed when he arrived at Nigeria’s busiest airport to start his journey.
The U.S. scanners are capable of delivering 3-D images that would have shown something hidden under clothing. But it has come to the knowledge of this press that the one at Lagos airport is used sporadically and meant only to be used on potential narcotics smugglers. Abdulmutallab flew to Amsterdam after clearing security at Nigeria’s Murtala Muhammed International Airport. He then boarded Northwest Airlines Flight 253, and there he then made an attempt to light an explosive device hidden in his underpants as the plane approached Detroit on Christmas Day. The head of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, told reporters Wednesday that his government would buy 3-D full-body scanners for the airports, and insisted there were currently none there.
But his claim was apparently contradicted when Ofoyeju Mitchell of Nigeria’s National Drug Law Enforcement Agency said one of the machines sits in a room near the security checkpoint in Lagos. Mitchell went on to say that they aren’t used on every passenger. He confirmed that drug agents select frequent flyers, travellers heading to and from drug shipment points, and people who seem deceptive or under stress as the country is a major transit point for Afghan heroin and South American cocaine. “The frequency of checks is determined by the risk level of our assessment and reasonable cause for suspicion,” he said. Apparently the U.S. State Department intended a more wider scope use of the equipments when it gave Nigeria the scanners. The scanners were installed in March, May and June of 2008 in order to detect explosives and drugs on passengers”.
The police presence at the Lagos airport has noticeably increased after the failed bombing, with officers cradling weathered assault rifles both inside and outside the terminal. Its more as if airline officials are making a point of going through every bag presented to them at check-in.
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