By ANTHONY AWUNOR, Lagos
Despite the Executive Order issued recently by the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has said such directive will not make the agency of government compromise safety in any way at the nation’s airports.
The acting general manager, Public Affairs, FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu who disclosed this at the weekend told journalists that in as much as they are ever ready to comply with the order, FAAN cannot completely eradicate manual checks, emphasizing that such checks must be done when one suspects a luggage of having something in it, that you are not sure. This Yakubu said is usually done when a security agent wants to confirm his or her suspicion.
Mrs. Yakubu said, “FAAN cannot compromise security. So we are working with the security agencies, airlines and others. When there is a need to search baggage manually, we do so but that takes place at the baggage hall, not within the purview of where the passengers are”.
As part of the implementation exercise, Yakubu said FAAN had since collapsed all the different screening desks at the airport into one point just as he stressed that FAAN Aviation Security (AVSEC), Quarantine, Customs and other security agencies are now in one single point to check the luggage of passengers coming into the airport.
Confirming that FAAN had started the implementation of the Executive Order since Monday last week, Mrs. Yakubu said “FAAN has started implementation on Monday. We have been able to collapse all the different desks at the airport into one. If you go to MMIA at the screening section, you will find out that the FAAN AVSEC, Quarantine and a few other security agencies are there. All of them are there now to check the luggage of passengers coming into the airport. If there is a need for further checks; when the luggage get into the baggage hall and you suspect any luggage, further checks are done there. We no longer have different desks at the airport. We don’t have Customs, Quarantine and others separate but have collapsed all of them into one”.
On scanners, Yakubu who admitted that what they have now are monitors said that FAAN had already made provision for more scanners which are expected to arrive this weekend and that the number coming in will take care of every passenger.
“These scanners will take care of everybody. You know what we have now are the monitors. It is because FAAN wanted to comply with the 30-day executive order, so we used what we have on ground to start implementation. The scanners are coming in this weekend”, the GM said.
Promising that FAAN will soon come up with a befitting modern corporate headquarters, Yakubu said that the report of the recent fire incident at FAAN office has been submitted by the Investigation Committee set up by FAAN, adding that the authority has not been able to make the report public in order not to pre-empt police investigations.
“The report was actually submitted exactly two weeks they were mandated. Why we have not made it public is because we are waiting for the police report. The police are investigating and we don’t want to pre-empt police investigations”, she said.
Yakubu also said that FAAN is excited about the approval of the ten lane MMIA road project for Lagos State government, stressing that the road belongs to FAAN and that they are ready to cooperate with Lagos State government.
The GM also stated that FAAN has been able to tackle the issue of touts at the airport, just as he made it known that the airport is now free from touts. She also advised travelers not to patronize touts but to always go straight to the counters to purchase their tickets. To serve passengers who don’t like going to the counters, the FAAN GM said that the authority has opened up passengers’ support services for such category of passengers at the airports.
“The air conditioners, signages are working and the environment is good now. We are working with the police. Once we get them, we take them to the police who would take up the case. We have sniffer dogs and anybody milling around the airport without any business there is arrested,’’she said.