By Nkasi Kolie
A convoy belonging to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, assaulted a staff of the Commercial Department of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on Sunday.
In a Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) footage shown to our Reporter, a convoy of black Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV) was seen driving towards the tollgate and at one of the booths, the first car passed through and the automatic barrier went down. The second car in the convoy stopped at the booth and security officials alighted from the vehicle and began physically assaulting a man later identified to be a staff of the commercial department of FAAN. The dark complexioned victim (name withheld) who was assaulted wore a tee-shirt on a pair of jean trousers.
A source at FAAN who was present when the incident happened, said that the police officers who are usually stationed at the tollgate identified the police officers in the convoy as those working for the Speaker. It was also confirmed that Gbajabiamila was not present in the convoy as he had been dropped off at one of the private hangars at the airport area and his convoy was returning without him when the incident happened.
“About 3.40pm on Sunday, November, 21, a convoy belonging to the Speaker of the House of the House of Representatives, wanted to pass through toll gate and they demanded that the barrier be lifted so the cars will drive through at once. But it is not possible because it is automated and it only allows one car to pass through at a time. When the first car in the convoy passed through, the barrier came down and the driver now asked the FAAN staff that was manning that particular booth why he allowed the barrier to come down and the staff told him that it is automated and can only take one car at a time.
“The policeman that was in front then asked the driver why he had to stop for the barrier to go up and down instead of just breaking through. Then the orderly that was sitting at the back came down and asked the police officer to deal with the guy. They then dragged him from the booth and started beating him. The Speaker was not in the convoy. They dropped him at Quits Aviation private hangar and were returning, that is when it happened.
“The FAAN staff was not even asking them for toll fee because they don’t usually pay. But they were not patient enough to wait for the barrier to be lifted and they dragged him out and beat him up.”
Our reporter was informed that the policemen on duty at the toll gate who witnessed the incident have filed a report of the assault with the Lagos Commissioner of Police and the airport manager and Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika have also been informed and investigations have commenced.
When we contacted the speaker’s media aide, Lanre Lasisi, said he could not immediately confirm if the incident happened. He, however, assured that a thorough investigation would be carried out.
This is not the first time that the Speaker’s convoy would be involved in an assault. In November last year, Gbajabiamila confirmed in a statement that a police aide attached to him shot dead a newspaper vendor in Abuja.