…as EU gropes for stricter security measures
By ISAAC TERSOO AGBER
TUESDAY’S terror attack on the Brussels Airport has risen the tempo of security activities around airports worldwide, Nigeria not excluded. The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has assured the air traveling public of its commitment to review all security apparatus in and around the airports in order to upgrade their performance at checking all sorts of security threats.
Explosions in the departures hall of Brussels Airport on March 22, 2016 has prompted several countries worldwide to review or tighten airport security and raises questions about how soon passengers should be screened when entering terminals.
At least 10 were killed by two bombs at Brussels airport. The attackers accessed the airport without passing security checks, which in Europe usually only take place after check-in.
Information rife in public space suggests that various authorities responded to this attack by stepping up the number of police on patrol at airports in London, Paris and Frankfurt and at other transport hubs as Brussels train services were also halted. Airlines diverted flights as Brussels airport announced it would remain closed on Wednesday.
In the United States, the country’s largest cities were placed on high alert and the National Guard was called in to increase security at New York City’s two airports.
In Nigeria, speaking with aviation reporters in office on steps taken to avoid the Brussels incident in the country, the general manager public affairs of FAAN, MrYakubuDati said sniffer dogs have been deployed to airports in conjunction with the Nigerian police.
Dati, who expressed shock at the dastardly act said the Authority will not leave any stone unturned to ensure maximum security at the airport especially with the Easter celebrations around the corner thus warning anyone without business at the airport not to constitute nuisance stressing that a special task force from the Independent Corrupt Practices were on ground to apprehend touts.
Apart from other security steps taken by the airport authority which cannot go on print, Dati said all the body scanners and Close Circuit Television gadgets were operational beaming activities of all at the airport and advised passengers to arrive the airport on time to do their normal check in procedures in order not to miss their flights.
He further cautioned all air passengers not to leave any luggage behind as such item will be taken away and destroyed.
In another African country, Kenya, a fortnight ago, it was revealed that the nation’s authorities beefed up security at the country’s major airports following intelligence reports that Al-Shabaab militants have concluded plans to use suicide bombers disguised as passengers to stage attacks in aircraft
According to Kenyan authorities, a leaked internal memo shows up to 11 Al-Shabaab suicide bombers have been trained ready for the mission.
The memo from the Kenya Airports Authority security stated that the planned attacks to be staged end of February and early March will target domestic flights.
Meanwhile, the Tuesday bombings sparked the nerves of the European Union aviation security experts as they meet next week to discuss ways of strengthening airport security after the attacks in Brussels that killed at least 31 people.
It was gathered that the European Commission, the EU executive arm, will host a meeting of aviation security experts from the 28 EU states on March 31, an EU Commission official said. A meeting of land transport security experts would be held on April 11.
There is no defined agenda for the meetings at the moment, but the Commission official ruled out stricter measures being imposed at EU level.
“Security is a national prerogative,” the official said. “The Commission will not impose on a small airport in Finland the same security measures that may be required for major hubs such as Brussels or Paris.”
Asked whether security scanners may be installed at airport entrances, the official said that would be a decision to be taken by national authorities.
Adding landside screening at airports might be costly and not improve security, the trade association of European airports, ACI Europe, said.