April 1, 2010 / 2:05 PM / 10 years ago

Man rams car into parked plane in Nigeria

CALABAR, Nigeria (Reuters) - A man who claimed to have been sent by Jesus to punish sinners rammed his car into a parked plane at an airport in southeastern Nigeria , an aviation spokesman said Thursday.

No one was hurt in the incident Wednesday and the spokesman said Nigeria had no problem with security.

The United States put Nigeria on a list of countries needing to improve security after Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was arrested on suspicion of trying to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner in December using explosives hidden in his underwear.

“There is no problem at all at our airports, no cause for alarm, as we have the necessary security on the ground,” said Akin Olukunle, spokesman for the Federal Airport Authority.

He said the driver had broken through two security gates at Calabar international airport and rammed his car into the Arik Air plane before soldiers arrested him.

The suspect was heard yelling that all Nigerians were sinners and must repent or perish, a reporter who was at the airport said. The man, who is from Nigeria’s southeastern state of Akwa Ibom, said he had been sent by Jesus Christ.

Authorities were questioning him in Calabar.

The crew of the plane, which had arrived from Lagos and was on its way to the capital Abuja, were not injured and no passengers were on board at the time.

“Our men rushed to the scene and evacuated crew members on board,” Olukunle said. “We have beefed up security.”

A bomb squad found no explosives in the car and flights continued despite the incident.

Writing by Randy Fabi; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Angus MacSwan

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