Beef up airport security system, aviation experts warns FG

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Investigation by National Daily has revealed the security issues and unreported breaches observed by passengers and officials during the last half of the 2017, aviation security chiefs and analysts have called for improved security arrangements across all the airports in the country.

In a chat with National Daily an aviation security consultant, Group Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd.), noted that the country’s airports lacked a good security system, and averred that “That is why some of the things that happened towards the end of 2017 happened. Airport security is not the job of the police; they have nothing to do with it”.

He noted that the problem and its solution should be sorted between the airport operators, airlines and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.

Continuing, Ojikutu said “The regulator needs to find out where there are breaches and look into them and review the security programme of some of the airport operators. One of the problems is the staff; there should be background check on those who work on the airside and those that have been relieved of their jobs but still have their identity cards.

“These are people that enter the airport and they become insider threat. There should be a regular review of people working in restricted areas of the airport.”

The President/Chief Executive Officer, Sabre Network NMC, West Africa, Mr. Gbenga Olowo, told National Daily that safety and security must go hand in hand because they are the bedrock of a reliable aviation system.

He explained that Nigeria’s aviation security system had ceased to exist, adding that there were too many security agencies across airports with overlapping duties that could create loopholes for safety breaches.

“We have too many agencies involved in aviation security and it should not be so; it should be centralised. Let us look at models that are working in other countries.

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“Today, we have security under the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria; State Security Service; National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service and others; and they are all in uniform. We must quickly think how to centralise airport security through technology to avoid all this duplication of efforts. With all these, we are moving one step forward and several steps backward. All over the world, everything has been made seamless through technology.”

In his contribution, the General Secretary, National Union of Air Transport Employees, Olayinka Abioye, said “One way to end pilfering at the airports is to review workers welfare and remuneration”.

“The idea of stealing from moving aircraft happened several years ago during the military era where soldiers were made to hide in drainage channels and trenches around the airside to watch planes and shoot any intruder at sight”.

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