The attackers were said to have opened the cargo section of the Flight 7138 taxiing for departure on runway 18R (A1) of the airport.
Passengers on board the Air Peace flight stepped out while the explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) squad, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Aviation Security (AVSEC) and the airline’s security team carried out a check.
Chris Iwarah, Air Peace communications manager, confirmed the incident in a statement.
He said the cargo was opened for about 15 seconds “and immediately shut down”.
The passengers were asked to alight the flight for another 30minutes
“The pilot-in-command of the aircraft alerted the control tower.
Pilot-in-command, Capt. Adesola Arasi had to contact control tower when he was alerted by the light that came on in the cockpit suggesting that the cargo hold was opened for about 15 seconds and immediately shut.
“In line with our high-security standards and the huge value we place on the lives of our guests and crew, Capt. Arasi insisted on having EOD squad check Flight APK 7138 before takeoff to be doubly sure nothing was deposited in the cargo hold by the suspected thieves to endanger the lives of our guests and crew.
Our guests, who were fully briefed of the development by the pilot-in-command, were advised to disembark from the aircraft and board an Air Peace bus while the joint security operation by EOD, FAAN AVSEC and our security team lasted. The Lagos-Abuja flight was cleared by the security experts after an exhaustive screening of the aircraft lasting about 30 minutes.
The flight eventually took off at 9.30 pm and safely landed in Abuja at about 10.23 pm. Our satisfied guests commended the expertise of Capt. Arasi and his team as well as the high safety standards of Air Peace.