A section of the Sam Mbakwe Airport in Owerri, Imo State, was engulfed in flames on Monday but firefighters stationed at the airport were able to put out the flames before huge damage could be done.
A staff of the airport who spoke in response to an inquiry by The ICIR said flights are expected to take off and land as scheduled despite the incident.
“The fire has been stopped and we are expecting flights to land,” the respondent answered. “It is only the administrative block that was affected. Both the commissioner of police and the air force commandant are on ground. FAAN (Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria) firefighters were able to stop the fire.”
In a video clip forwarded by the respondent, a voice − apparently that of a middle-aged woman − could be heard screaming “Blood of Jesus cover us, blood of Jesus quench this fire, blood of Jesus quench it”. Firefighters were also seen rushing to the place of the fire as thick black smoke could be seen billowing from the fire.
“Everywhere is burnt, everywhere is burnt. Before they’ll get there everything would have been destroyed,” the voice continued in Igbo language. However, two other voices, sounding like young men, scolded the woman to stop screaming. “Are you the only one seeing the fire?” they queried her rather harshly.
She continued her lamenting, regardless. “Jesus help us, Jesus help us. How about those upstairs at the control tower? What will they do now? Daddy help us,” she kept praying.
The two male voices spoke again, “this thing must have been caused by an electrical fault, they were working on it earlier”.
Watch the video below:
General Manager of FAAN, Henrietta Yakubu, issued a statement later on Monday, confirming the incident, but adding that activities have resumed.
“The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria wishes to inform passengers and the general public that there was a fire incident that affected some parts of the terminal building of Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri at about 14:00 hours today”, she said.
“The fire was however curtailed swiftly by officers of the Aerodrome Rescue and Fire Fighting Services Department of FAAN. There was no casualty and normal operations have since resumed at the airport”.