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How AI Failure At Abuja Airport Aided Kenyan Binance Executive Escape From Nigeria

Many stakeholders who reacted to the news condemned the lapses in Nigeria’s security system and intelligence which they argued made it seamless for the Binance official from perfecting his escape.

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While the controversy over the recent embarrassing escape from custody of an executive of the cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, Nadeem Anjarwalla in Nigeria through the Nnamdi Azikwe International airport rages on, key players across the country’s aviation sector have described the development as confirmation of the lack of synergy amongst security agents at the airports.

Nadeem Anjarwalla, the regional manager for Binance in Africa, was reported to have fled Nigeria using a smuggled passport through the Abuja airport to escape trial and prosecution. He holds both UK and Kenyan citizenship.

Many stakeholders who reacted to the news condemned the lapses in Nigeria’s security system and intelligence which they argued made it seamless for the Binance official from perfecting his escape.

Reports from Nigerian publication citing anonymous source, queried how a passenger could go through many uniformed personnel at the airport to not only process his papers but comfortably travel through the airport unnoticed.

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Commenting on the controversy, the Chief Executive Officer at Selective Security International Ltd, a private firm, Mr Ayo Obilana described the escape of the Binance executive as unacceptable.

According to Obilana: “I rate the efficiency of the securitymen in charge of airport immigration and state security as unacceptably poor on controversial escape of Mr Anjarwala if he passed through them.

“It’s not about porosity this time but about human error and failure which definitely points in one direction of either systemic failure or compromise. I believe his name should have been put on watchlist in the data base of the two security agencies. There are other possibilities, however, the matter should be thoroughly investigated and thereafter, the tasking authorities should take appropriate steps for redress or mitigation. I hope the airport has a functional CCTV system and if it has, the fugitive’s movements through the airport can be easily tracked including those who aided his escape.”

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Equally, the Managing Director of another security agency, Centurion Security Services and a onetime military commandant of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Group Captain John Ojikutu, retired, likened the escape of the Binance official to what happened with the escape of the now known popular underwear bomber, Farouk Abdulmutalab through the Lagos airport in 2009.

His words “Security begins with intelligence which is more than 60% of the Airport Security Defence Layers. If they get intelligence early and it is appropriately shared, what we saw happened last week would not have happened. What happened last week with the escaped man is not different from what happened with the Abdulmutalab escape in December 25, 2009 even when the father warned the National Intelligence Agent and the US Embassy about the irregular behaviour of his son.

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While arguing that the airline that boarded the Binance official can only be blamed if it was informed earlier that the man was on the watch list or no-fly list.

“The airport government security agencies on the Aviation Security Defence Layers too appeared not to have any information about the man. What I can tell you from the experience of the Abdulmutalab case and his escape through the Avsec Defence Layers is the disconnect between the government security agencies in their line of duties. Starting with the intelligent agency to the border security agencies which include the immigration, DSS, Avsec/Airlines through the NCAA, etc.”

Other stakeholders who spoke on the controversy further took a swipe at the crop of security personnel manning the different airports who they accused of just sitting at their duty posts idly.

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“Our airports are the only airports where security personnel sit instead of on their feet moving around. The Binance official can still come back to Nigeria and make another return same way as he escaped without being detected. The level of corruption in the airport security system particularly with immigration and State security protocols is unimaginable.

The key players also faulted the type of multiple security checks at the international airports which they said does not exist at any known airport in the world. “What obtains at our international airports is indeed shameful and some of us have tirelessly and repeatedly pointed same out to the tasking authority for corrective action but to no avail.”

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