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Published On: Wed, Nov 14th, 2018

Airport search: Stop crying wolf – BMO chides Atiku

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By Umar Muhammad Puma

The Buhari Media Organization (BMO) has accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the media handlers of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of deliberately misrepresenting a search that was clearly in line with international best practices.
It said in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke that it is common knowledge that only Presidents and Vice Presidents are exempted from security screening at any airport in the world.
BMO noted that all regular users of Nigeria’s international airports are aware of the Presidential task force on trans-border cash movement which is saddled with the responsibility of stemming illicit movement of foreign currencies into and out of the country.
“This task force consists of Immigration, Customs and other security agencies and is known to approach all arriving international aircraft for routine search.
“We know that when Alhaji Atiku Abubakar was in the Customs, he would not condone a situation where his men would neglect to conduct security screening of an incoming private aircraft, regardless of the calibre of individuals on board.
“In fact, was it not the same Atiku Abubakar that led the task force that conducted a search that led to the discovery of a huge cache of cash in an aircraft in 1984?”
According to the BMO, if the former vice president’s claim that that was the first time he was searched in this country is true, then there is something seriously wrong with our security system.
“Let’s not also forget that an elder states man of the calibre of Paul Unongo had alleged in an interview that same Atiku Abubakar is one of those top Nigerians funding, arming and generally aiding rampaging Fulani herdsmen in their onslaught against the people of Benue, Plateau and Taraba States. It follows, of course, that he deserved closer monitoring by security agencies.”
The group, however, noted that it was not surprised that the PDP candidate and his allies chose to play to the gallery as a result of what airport authorities have said are routine checks.
BMO said, “The immediate reaction showed that it was an orchestrated move to embarrass the authorities. Those that took to Twitter had probably put together drafts and were waiting for the go-ahead to push out false narratives with the usual refrain of “attack on our democracy”.
“This is almost certainly the first of a series of scare mongering agenda hatched in Dubai to paint President Muhammadu Buhari in bad light”.
It noted that all the opposition figures condemning the security checks on the former vice president would gladly subject themselves to airport security in other countries.
“We have it on good authority that former vice president Atiku even claimed to have lost the key to one of his luggage. It is not possible for him or his aides to tell that to any airport security personnel anywhere in the world, no matter how lowly ranked,” BMO added.

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