In a rather bizarre development on Wednesday, a man drove a car into the underbelly of a Boeing aircraft Marked 5N-MJJ belonging to Arik Airline at Margaret Ekpo International airport Calabar in Cross River State Southern Nigeria, about 600 kilometers from Lagos.
The vehicle painted in the state’s taxi color of blue-white-blue was said to have sped past two gates of the Air Force Station into the airport and headed straight to the tarmac and rammed into the underbelly of the aircraft waiting to take off on a domestic for Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, with about 200 passengers on board.
An eye-witness account said the car went straight through the two Air Force gates at the airport, which acts as barriers, without any resistance and headed straight towards the fuel section of the plane but apparently missed its target and got stuck under the plane’s underbelly.
One of the panic-stricken passengers narrating his experience said they were afraid when they heard a big bang thinking it was another terrorist attack. According to another passenger aboard the plane, when they heard a loud bump they thought it was a fire, then they heard the alarm and were asked to disembark.
The man who was later arrested by security agents claimed in his local Nigerian dialect that his mission was to blow up the plane and the passengers because Nigerians are unrepentant sinners, that Jesus Christ is the redeemer, and that he will come back to complete the attack.
The pilot of the plane, Captain Simon Robinson, crew members, and passengers who had started boarding, ran for safety while fire fighters rushed to the scene. The vicinity of the area was cordoned off while police combed the area, but sources said no bomb was found.
The Federal Airports Authority (FAAN) manager at the airport, Mr. Mahmud Sani, said everyone was taken unaware. He declined further comment, saying the investigation was ongoing.