Fear mounts as FG diverts Abuja international flights  to Kaduna

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The federal government will be stacking a lot more security burden for Kaduna by passing the buck of protecting hundreds of air travellers that will be daily diverted to the north-western state.

A six-week-long maintenance kicks off in the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport (NAINA), Abuja, February 8, and Aviation Minster (Jr) Haidi Sirika said arrangement has been finalised with the state to provide security.

The federal government will provide buses to convey the passengers to Abuja.

Kaduna has been reeling in the throe of armed militants suspected to be Fulani herdsmen who have been killing citizens in the southern part of the state.

According to the Christian Association of Nigeria, No fewer than 800 people were, killed in the latest wave of violence in the state, and Chief Security Officer and Gov. Nasir el Rufai, many believe, has not been able to contain the violence.

The threat level in Kaduna has now required IGP Ibrahim Idris to deploy special police squads and air patrol to bolster up the state police command. The army will also send a detachment of boots on the ground to reinforce the police effort in southern Kaduna.

Yet amidst all that, the state will have to provide security escorts to plane-loads of travellers from all over the world being bussed to Abuja after landing in the Kaduna International Airport (KAINA).

The Nigerian constitution does not allow a state to own or control any of the security forces, including the police, the Nigeria Civil Security and Defence Corp, and others. It controls only the vigilante groups who have no training in aviation security.

The National Daily learnt that the volume of travellers jetting into the state and needing security during the down time is also a factor security analysts consider critical.

NAINA alone, coming behind the Lagos International Airport in term passenger volume, ha no fewer than 954,466 international passengers in 2014. February recorded 55,181.

KAINA recoded 13,800 in February of the same year.

Kaduna, according to the National Daily findings, has been marked down in 2017 by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advisory. The body warns travellers to embark on only essential travel to the state.

Kaduna has become a hot spot of violence since the Shiite insurgence broke out December 2015. A lot of kidnaps for ransoms have taken place there, too—in addition to the criminality of herdsmen in the southern part of the state.

Hectic as the security aspect of the emergency plan appears, Sidika assured there will be no glitches whatsoever.

He said there will be a stakeholders’ forum where he will provide more information.

“The forum will afford me the opportunity to officially inform the sector players of the decision,” the minister told journalists early in the week.

He will also brief them on efforts being made to ensure that the use of the Kaduna International Airport, as an alternate during the six-week closure of the Abuja Airport, is seamless and hitch-free.

 

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