Isaac Tersoo Agber
Vested with the responsibility of securing Nigeria’s airports against animal incursions into the runways, stowaways and other unwanted elements, the Federal Government would need to procure at least N25 billion to construct perimeter and operational fences across all the 22 airports operated by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
The sum is expected to take care of the over 500 kilometre landmass across the 22 airports in the country.
General Manager, Corporate Communications, FAAN, Mr. Yakubu Dati, who said this in an interview at the agency’s headquarters at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, MMA, Lagos revealed the amount was attained after a recent survey carried out by the authority.
At the moment, only four international airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt have partial perimeter fencing, the other 18 airports owned by the Federal Government are not fenced, a situation, which has led to encroachments on the lands by some unwanted elements.
Dati gave a breakdown that each of the 22 airports is about 50 kilometre long and would require serious investments for all of them to be properly fenced according to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) recommended practices.
ICAO security guidelines prescribe that all airports must be secured with double perimeter fences.
Dati, however, explained that there are other safety measures FAAN has taken in line with international best practice to boost security and safety within the nation’s airports.
He pointed out that the agency had introduced the perimeter patrol, built perimeter towers, which enables the Aviation Security, AVSEC, personnel and other security agencies to have a full overview of the airport environment and installed latest technologies in strategic locations to increase surveillance.
He also maintained that most of the leakages observed in the past by analysts and other aviation stakeholders had been closed by the authority, stressing that this had made it possible for FAAN to scale the American Transportation Security Administration, TSA, security audit carried out earlier in the month at the Lagos Airport.
He said, “It would be recalled that about two months ago, we invited a team from Airport Council International, ACI, to carry out security audit of our airports and they identified some gaps, which needed to be closed and we were able to close those gaps. That is why when TSA came calling about two weeks ago, we were given clean bill of health because all the loopholes have been closed.
“Insider’s threat is another area that we are looking at. We profile anybody that works within the terminal or in the terminal in line with global standards. It is after passing that we issue them the On-Duty-Card, ODC. Even at that, the ODC also have some levels of restrictions such that it is not every holder that has access to every part of the terminal. We have different levels and colours based on the level of clearance you have received.”
Dati said observed that airport as an enabler to the nation’s economy contributes about $1bn annually while also providing more than 300,000 jobs, stressing that the government would continue to ensure growth in the sector.