Airport attack: Obasanjo clears the air on alleged assaault.

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday said he was not physically hurt in Monday’s attack near the Presidential Lounge of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

A man, identified by a security source on Tuesday as Oweru, had sneaked up to the ex-president’s car when it stopped at the junction of the road leading out of the presidential lounge.

The ex-president’s car, which was travelling in a convoy, was waiting to join the major road connecting the old domestic terminal, MMA2 and international wing when the attacker opened one of the rear doors and allegedly charged at Obasanjo.

But speaking with THE PUNCH on the telephone, Obasanjo admitted that the strange man opened the side of the Sport Utility Vehicle where he sat but did not hit him.

The account of the former president was delivered by his Media Consultant, Mr. Adeoba Ojekunle, and a security officer, who was in Obasanjo’s convoy when the incident occurred. Ojekunle explained that security operatives had noticed the presence of the alleged attacker before Obasanjo’s arrival.

He stated that they made efforts to eject him from the presidential wing before the arrival of the former President from a foreign trip.

Ojekunle said, “Our people were already on the ground before Obasanjo’s arrival. At about 7am, security men noticed the presence of the man and tried to get him out of the place. Men of the Nigerian Air Force, who came to handle security in the place, drove the man out of the gate.

“Officers of the anti-terrorism squad were also around. The problem was that when they drove the man out of the gate, nobody knew that he went to stay by the side of the road, close to the gate.”

He added that the suspect “pursued the vehicle on the road; the convoy was already on the road, not in the premises. The man suddenly emerged from the roadside, grabbed the door of the vehicle and opened it.”

According to him, “Nobody was prepared for the sudden attack. He had not touched Baba (Obasanjo). It was not true that he hit Baba. Don’t forget that Obasanjo himself was a soldier.

“If he had hit him (Obasanjo), the man himself could have been hurt. You know there were vehicles in front of the one conveying Baba and another one at the back. So, when the man was trying to open the door, running after the vehicle, the security aides in the vehicle behind got down and overpowered him. He was subsequently handed over to the security details at the airport. Chief Obasanjo was not hurt in the attack.”

However, THE PUNCH discovered on Tuesday that the suspect had not been admitted at the Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital Yaba, Lagos State, as promised by the Commissioner of Police in charge of airport command, Mr. Chris Ola. During a visit by our correspondent to the hospital, it was learnt that the suspect had not been admitted to the only public neuro psychiatric hospital in the state.

The security source who gave the suspect’s name did not want to be named because of the sensitive nature of the matter. The source said the matter had been handed over to the State Security Service for further investigation.

Attempt to obtain a reaction from the SSS spokesperson, Mrs. Marilyn Ogar, failed as she neither responded to calls to her phone nor the SMS sent to her mobile.

Source: Punch