Over the years, there have been persistent and consistent issues bordering on security in the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos. As an International airport as well as the gateway into our Country, it is expected to measure up to international standards in facilities, personnel, services, security, safety etc but unfortunately most of these areas are atimes neglected and consequently fall below acceptable international standards.

This research has been designed to assess and appraise the security system and facilities in the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos. The study aims at evaluating the security system with a view to identifying and analyzing all those problems facing the efficient and effective security network.

The data obtained were basically on questionnaires, library research, journals and official documents as well as relevant books. The use of maps, graphs and tables also complement the other source of data collection.

After the analysis, it was discovered that the security system of the airport is poor and does not measure up to international standards and therefore should be beefed up.

The problems were identified and array of suggestions advanced for a safer and more secure airport in order to forestall any security breach



The development of aviation in Nigeria has had a chequered history. Strangely enough, the industry is more than four decades older than its mother, Nigeria for it was one of the technological legacies bequeathed to this nation at independence on October 1, 1960. Nigerian’s aviation industry dates back to the 1920 when several flights to Kano and then to Lagos by the Royal Air force squadron aircraft based in Khartoum in East Africa (SKY POWER; 7, 1998).

The first commercial flight was operated to Nigeria by the Imperial Airways which began the first international air services to Nigeria in four ensigned De Havilland Airplanes D.H 9a biplanes (400 h.p liberty engines) departing Cairo Helwan Aerodrome at 7am on October 27, 1925 and connected at Khartoum with the larger type Hannibal Aircraft, owned by the same company.

The exercise was led by Squadron leader Arthur Conningham and other members of the crew were flight – lieuts H.W. Baggs and H.V Rowley, Flight Sergeant Evans and Sergts Kennedy and Grant.

According to Deru, (2002) former Director of the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) in a paper titled the Aviation Industry in Nigerian; the Lagos Airport then was nothing more than “a landing strip on the foreshore of Lagos

Island”. The American Air force as part of the Allied Nation’s frontier force built the Ikeja Airport. It was later turned into civil use.

In Kano, what was then designated as airport was the polo ground of about 400 square meters.

Deru (2002) said a terminal building was constructed for passenger handling in Kano with custom and immigration facilities provided during the war, thus uplifted Kano airport into a point of entry into Nigeria. Yearly passenger traffic was then about 10,000.

The Second World War accelerated airport development and aircraft technology worldwide. The end of war in 1945, witnessed a rapid and unfiltered growth in the aviation industry both in Nigeria and elsewhere.

In the early 1950, department of Civil Aviation emerged with Wing Commander E.H. Coleman, as its first Director.

The department regulated and drew navigational policies for the country and the three West African States of Ghana, Gambia and Sierra Leone. Besides Lagos and Kano Airports, there began to emerge several air types in the hinterland.

These covered and operated by companies (mostly construction firms) and religious organizations such as the Sudan Interior Mission (S.I.M). In 1946, the West African Air Corporation (WAAC) was born to operate air service throughout the four British West African countries of Nigeria, Ghana,

Gambia, Sierra Leone, with a fleet of De Havilland dove (DH 104), Bristol wavy fares and freighters AB170.

When in 1957, Ghana pulled out at independence to form her airline; Nigeria, British overseas Airways Cooperation and Elder Dampster Lines inherited WAAC. On August 23, 1958, the federal Government took total control of the business by buying out the shares of its partners. It was the birth of the national carrier, Nigeria Airways. (SKYPOWER VOL. & 1998).

The airline which began on a modest scale with Doves, Herons and the DC- 3 planes graduated to turbo props such as the Fokker 27, the Fokker 28 and the Boeing 727 Jet-all of which have now been phased out. Then came the Boeing 707, Boeing 737, the McDonnell Douglas DC 10 and two of the fleet, Airbus A310 and Boeing 747 jumbo.

Today, there are nineteen airports; the ones in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano and Calabar are designated International airports in the sense that they are equipped with custom and immigration facilities. The domestic airports include: Imo, Sokoto, Jos, Yola, Enugu, Benin, Akure, Ibadan, Zaria and Makurdi.

This research has therefore taken one of the International airports, Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos to study exclusively buttressing the need to have security facilities and human input in security measures. Lagos airport being an international airport is expected to measure up to international standards in facilities, personnel, services, security, safety etc, but unfortunately most of these areas are atimes neglected and consequently fall below acceptable international standards.

Effort therefore is being made by the researcher to appraise the security facilities available within the airport.

Also in the history of aviation in 1976, the federal Government in a bid to run multi-Naira edifices established a body.  That body today has transformed into an octopus called the Federal Airports Authority of Nigerian (FAAN) formerly Nigerian Airport Authority (NAA) (SKY POWER VOL 2, 1980).

In FAAN. Over 50,000 workers are Nigerian bred trained with local resources looking after an asset of over N106 billion and served with over 280 million annually.

This huge maintenance cost prompted a number of revenue – generating measures from the authority, which yields over N200 million.

The need to adequately secure the nations sea, land and airspace prompted the government to place embargo on passenger charter flights outside the country in 1984 (THE AIRMAN VOL 7, 1998). In FAAN, the enabling decree 45 of 1976 approved that it generates internal revenue by means of fines, parking and landing fees, rents and vehicle parking fees.

By and large, Nigerian aviation industry has recorded significant strides in some areas, as there are still other areas where efforts started may not have achieved the standards desired.


The airport like any other city needs the function of the following major sector sections in piloting its affairs by coordinating and management of activities in a professional manner. The sections include:

  • Administrative
  • Fiscal department/Management
  • Operation/Maintenance
  • Planning


By this, one can say that the airport is municipal in nature. Under the operations include the airport security practices and procedures as well as provide recommendations on security and emergency procedures and acquisition, maintenance and application of equipment, traffic accident report and enforcement of airport regulations.

In the Nigerian airports, there is evidence to show gaps in the security management when compared with the international standard.

As far as aviation is concerned, the desired prime objective is security and efficient carriage of passenger and goods.

Hence the need to secure the airport and the facilities- passenger, cargo, aircraft and buildings from unforeseen danger. Due to the factor of development, it is necessary to have a coordinated aviation security system, which is effective and efficient. In the Nigerian Airports, there are still yet to completely measure up to the International standards in the security measures.

Air crashes in aviation are mainly due to aviation security oversight


The objective of the study is to assess and evaluate the security system in a Nigerian airport. Generally therefore; this study aims at identifying and analyzing all those problems facing the efficient and effective network and security system in Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.

Specifically the following objectives are addressed.

  • To examine the airport access controls system (this includes access roads to airports, access to security areas like aircraft and control tower)
  • To examine the extent of personnel’s security consciousness
  • To evaluate the state of airport facilities available in Lagos airport
  • To examine how often security meetings are held
  • To evaluate the state of passenger and carry on baggage screening
  • To examine the function of the existing security equipment available in the airport


The appraisal of the security system in Murtala Mohammed Airport, Ikeja Lagos is very important. It will help the study to establish the extent of security facilities available.

To investigate into this topic, the following research questions are used as guiding factors.

  1. How do we examine the level of functional security equipment/aid in the airport?
  2. What facilities are available in the airport?
  3. Do you think that the security personnel should be given adequate training?



The hypothesis for the study would be tested using the relevant statistical techniques.

Ho1= null hypothesis

Ho1= there is no significant relationship between the natural density of crime and facilities available

Ho2: = volume of crime is not functionally related to the entry and exist point patterns.

The Null hypothesis is either accepted or rejected depending on the value of the chi-square calculated.

If the calculated x2 (Chi-square) value is greater than the tabulated x2 –value, the null hypothesis is rejected. The null hypothesis is accepted if x2 value tabulated is greater then x2– value calculated.

In hypothesis 1, Ho1, would compare the crime density with the facilities available. It is pertinent to note the effect of increase or decrease of availability of facilities on the volume of crime. A critical look at this would show whether there is a relationship between the density of crime and facilities available.

On the hand, hypothesis 2, Ho2 would compare the volume of crime with the entry and exit point patterns. These point include two basic zones – airside and landside, the landside area are:

  • Open access
  • Staff only areas; offices, lifts, lobbies etc
  • Plant room

The airside is basically sub-divided into arrival and departures areas; and it is a standard concept that arriving and departing passengers should not mix with arrival airside unless the arriving passengers have been screened. At airside arrivals, there might be the following zones:

  • International passenger arrivals corridor
  • Domestic passenger arrivals corridor
  • Immigration
  • International baggage reclaim
  • Customs

Airside departure could have the following zones:

  • Retail shop area
  • Departure holding area

In addition to all these areas, there are also apron area and the runways. The two are prime targets for apprehending criminals.


The aviation industry in Africa generally and Nigeria in particular suffer from neglect primarily due to wrong perception by the populace that it serves only the elite (SKY POWERVOL, 8, 1998).

People are quick to point out the low percentage of the population that takes the air. It is rather convenient to deliberately ignore other industries that depend on air transportation to survive.

Where the authorities recognize the need to establish agencies to manage the services sectors (security services, fleet planning etc) in the industry, the funds realized from air navigation charges to the community at the detriment of the aviation infrastructures. It is wrong to assume that aviation security conceive the developed countries of the world who have series of things to protect.

The implication is that the airports security facilities available in the airport and air navigation sectors of the industry suffer from under funding and are not able to put in place the required infrastructure for efficient security check and management. Against this background, it should be recalled that Nigerian airspace has been labeled unsecured by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), (even after the 2006 recent air mishap), and other International community as a result of poor infrastructure in the nations airport, resulting to poor security management and exposure to risk.

In recent times, however, the world as a whole face a most harrowing threat to aviation security with the September 11, 2001 event in the United States. A research on Newspapers and Internet news show that the occurrence on September 11, 2001 was a purely political and terrorist issue. This being the case therefore Civil Aviation authority should have been able to dictate the loophole in their security network and be able to plug it. This loophole here that caused the catastrophe on September 11 was as a result of unscreening of the security personnel themselves.

The philosophy is “To screen employee the same way as passenger and then a little more. This is because of their ability to access the aircraft above and below the wing:” (ORAMA ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR SECURITY AND SAFETY, MIAMI DADE AVIATION DEPARTMENT).

It would be recalled that the terrorists were personnel employed by the American Airlines and had been working at the airport for two years.

This would confirm that they know all the entry and exist patterns of the airport and services there as officials and would not have been screened thoroughly. In other words, that was not as a result of faulting screening equipment, but rather human error.

This is why the research is investigating not only the security facilities available, but also human factor as a means of security failure in the aviation industry.


This research is limited to examining the security and safety system in Murtala Mohammed International Airport Lagos. Also reference will be made to security system at Port Harcourt Airport, Jos Airport, Abuja Airport etc. Taking these statistically, whatever is found in these airports may be applied to Lagos airport case with little margin of errors. The research is limited to lack of very concrete information from the Lagos airport.This reason being that security in the airport is a very sensitive

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