The wave of terror attacks in Nigeria seem took a new turn on Tuesdayas reports of a suicide bomb attempt to blow up an Arik Air plane flying from Maiduguri to Abuja jolted Nigerians . A suspected member of the Boko Haram sect who had boarded in Maiduguri, Borno State got up mid-air and told all the passengers to say their last prayers. As he brought out the explosive device, he disclosed that his main targets were the white people in the aircraft.
The explosive device failed to detonate before the plane landed in Abuja. Police bomb experts moved in and the suspected terrorist was arrested when the plane touched down in Abuja. How he passed security checks at the airport with the explosive device remains unknown. Personnel at the local wing of the airport are keeping mum over the issue as no one wants to be quoted.
Nigeria’s Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Oduah denied that there was an attempt to bomb any Arik aircraft. The Minister via her Twitter handle described it as a rumour as she tweeted “The alleged Breaking News about a bomb scare on an Arik flight is absolutely false. There is no iota of truth whatsoever in this rumour.” Five minutes later, she tweeted “The flying public should please go about their normal businesses as the airport/airspace is safe. Thank you.”
Arik Air too released a statement denying the attempt. According to Arik Air management, “a passenger on board flight W 3 812 from Maiduguri to Abuja caused a scare when he started shouting Allah Akbar shortly before the aircraft landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. The frightened passengers on board the flight became suspicious thinking the man was about to do something sinister. All the passengers on board the flight, including the man in question, had all gone through the normal security check at the Maiduguri International Airport and nothing incriminating was found on anyone”.
The airline also assured passengers that they have “nothing to fear as the airline’s Aviation Security Department is one of the most sophisticated in the industry.”
Street Journal however gathered that the bomber came in as the last passenger in First Class and he spoke Queen’s English and Hausa fluently. He claimed they were three bombers that were supposed to enter the plane but two could not make it due to security. The bomber wired himself and used bandages to cover up. He gave his age as 27 and he identified three members of the Joint Task Force on board by name.
The attempt on the airline has shown the dynamism of the dreaded Islamist sect. Meanwhile, the Joint Task Force had earlier hinted that the sect has plans to launch attacks on Sallah day.