Rais­ing se­cu­rity bar at Nige­rian air­ports

Daily Trust - - BUSINESS - From Ab­dul­la­teef Aliyu, Lagos

Re­cent at­tacks on air­ports in Bel­gium and Turkey have trig­gered global at­ten­tion to im­prov­ing se­cu­rity in and around the air­ports with ex­perts task­ing gov­ern­ment of na­tions to rise to the emerg­ing chal­lenges.

The world is cur­rently bat­tling with in­sur­gency of all sorts but air­ports have never been tar­gets of ter­ror­ists un­til March 22 when in­sur­gents hit Brussels Air­port in Zaven­tem.

Shortly af­ter, an­other air­port, Ataturk, in Is­tan­bul, Turkey, suf­fered a ter­ror­ist at­tack with the world ex­press­ing out­rage over the in­ci­dent.

The In­ter­na­tional Air Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion (IATA) through its Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral, Tony Tyler, said the at­tacks un­der­score the grow­ing chal­lenge for gov­ern­ment to keep peo­ple safe in the land­side of the air­port.

In a state­ment, the as­so­ci­a­tion rep­re­sent­ing some 265 air­lines com­pris­ing 83% of global air traf­fic said in­no­cent trav­ellers have been at­tacked in a cowardly and mur­der­ous act.

The re­cent at­tacks have, there­fore, evoked de­bate on the level of se­cu­rity at Nige­rian air­ports with many ex­perts stat­ing that ma­jor air­ports are not im­mune from such at­tacks.

There are con­cerns over in­ad­e­quate perime­ter fenc­ing at most air­ports thereby mak­ing them vul­ner­a­ble.

In­struc­tively, the Fed­eral Air­ports Au­thor­ity of Nige­ria (FAAN) which man­ages 22 air­ports in the coun­try is not obliv­i­ous of the emerg­ing chal­lenges.

24 hours af­ter the Turkey at­tack, the agency in a state­ment is­sued by its spokesman, Yakubu Dati, urged pas­sen­gers not to ac­cept any lug­gage from any­one and to re­port any sus­pi­cious move­ments or be­hav­iour im­me­di­ately to avi­a­tion se­cu­rity per­son­nel in the ter­mi­nals.

It said the au­thor­ity has put ad­e­quate se­cu­rity mea­sures in place at air­ports to fore­stall any form of se­cu­rity breach, in­clud­ing the in­stal­la­tion of 3D screen­ing ma­chines, metal de­tec­tors and CCTV cam­eras.

The Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of FAAN, Engr. Saleh Dunoma, gave an in­sight into the im­proved se­cu­rity ar­range­ment at the air­ports.

He said that the au­thor­ity con­ducts back­ground checks ev­ery six months on its staff and other work­ers at the air­ports to guard against in­sider threat.

These checks are con­ducted be­fore the is­suance of on-du­ty­cards (ODCs) which ad­mit some per­son­nel to re­stricted ar­eas of the air­ports, he said.

An avi­a­tion se­cu­rity ex­pert, Capt. John Ojikutu, told our cor­re­spon­dent that Nige­ria is not im­mune to the kind of at­tacks ex­pe­ri­enced in Bel­gium and Turkey, urg­ing au­thor­i­ties to rise to the oc­ca­sion.

An air­port perime­ter fence

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