It was an embarrassing moment for Nigeria on Wednesday night as passengers were stranded at the international terminal of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos when the departure and arrival sections became enveloped in darkness due to power outage.
The outage disrupted activities for over one hour, leaving the passengers stranded during the peak evening hours when many of the international flights were checking in and boarding their passengers.
The power cut, according to an eye-witness account, gave rise to security challenge as security operatives tried to take control of movement of people and luggage in the dark.
The outage was attributed to underground cables that might have withered due to old age, which cut off electricity to certain parts of the terminal while there was power in other areas; but it had severe impact because the departures and arrivals where high activities were taking place were in darkness.
Spokesman of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Yakubu Dati, said the agency’s engineers responded immediately by tracing the cause of the power cut and assured that power would be restored shortly.
Dati also observed that the terminal was 40 years old with facilities overstretched and old cables buried underground, which bristle and cut when there is power surge as usage of electricity had multiplied far beyond the installed capacity.
He also noted that the problem might not go away until activities are relocated to the new terminal which would be completed early next year, adding that FAAN has efficient and reliable power plant that went on stream last year as secondary power source for the terminal.
“We apologise to Nigerians for the power outage. We are doing everything possible to restore power to those areas that are now in darkness. The problem is that the airport terminal is very old. It is 40 years with 40 years facilities, including the cables. which break frequently. This is why government decided to build a new airport terminal where we will relocate early next year. Nigerians should bear with us,” he said.