BY YUSUF BABALOLA, Lagos
Aviation stakeholders have advocated for improved security at all the nation’s airports following the alert raised by the ministry of aviation over possible attack on Lagos, Kaduna, Maiduguri, Sokoto and Kano airports.
The stakeholders, who spoke in separate interviews with LEADERSHIP at the weekend, noted that more than a week after such alarm was raised, the security architecture in most airports has not improved.
To this end, they called the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and relevant stakeholders to beef up security at airports across the country.
Speaking on the imploding security threats across airports, the general secretary, Air Transport Service Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), Frances Akinjole, said bandits are kidnapping their members on daily basis in Kaduna and Jos.
He said, “We are just fortunate that Lagos is just a little bit secured and this is not the effort of the authority concerned. For instance, see what is happening in Jos and Kaduna, some of our members are being kidnapped day in day out, those who are fortunate escaped the attempt while the unfortunate ones fall victims of this development. This is the purview of FAAN and must rise up to address this,” he said.
“We are not proactive because we felt Lagos State being in the South-West is a little bit secured than those in the North-West and the Middle Belt. There are security lapses everywhere in Nigeria, including, all the airports. Security issue is everybody’s concern. It is not only the airport, however, the airport, being the gateway, should be protected from external aggression and be properly taken care of.”
Also, secretary-general, Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), retired group-capt. John Ojikutu, said there was need for a national security or intelligence information to be sent to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
Ojikutu said that the information should be decimated to all operators, both public and private, adding that, airports were not the only targets for terrorists.
“There is need to secure aircraft parking lots, fuel depots, among others. Since all operators have approved security programmes by NCAA, all that is required is for the NCAA to use the security intelligence formations,” he said.
Ojikutu added that this should be sent by the appropriate national authority to update the National Civil Aviation Security Programmes (NCASP) and send to all the operators under its oversight as directives, not advisory.
“FAAN security restricted area circular should also be extended, car parks, fuel depots and the airports service road. The FAAN Authority should also improve surveillance on all access roads into the security controlled areas. There is need to increase patrols on both sides of the airport perimeter fence by (23 kilometres), and also reduce numbers of visitors and VIPs escorts in the Airports,” he pointed out.
When contacted, the general manager, corporate affairs of FAAN, Henrietta Yakubu, said the authority is working with military to ward off the threat.
She told LEADERSHIP that the airport is safe for passengers, especially, the Abuja airport where the Nigerian Airforce complement security and enforcing security checks.
“This is a security matter and what i could tell you is that we are working with the military. The airports are safe, our passengers can fly safely because the Airforce are always complementing security especially at the Abuja toll gate profiling everyone that’s coming in. So, tell everyone that no cause for alarm, our airport is safe,” she assured.