By Kenneth Ehigiator
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has raisedÂ alarm over the refusal of Very Important Personalities (VIPs) and top military and para-military personnel to submit themselves for screening before boarding an aircraft.
Already, management of the agency has taken the matter before the National Security Adviser who, Vanguard learnt, has directed all Air Force commandants at airports across the country to put a stop to congestion of screening points at airports by junior military personnel who come to the airports to receive their superior officers or their families.
FAAN Managing Director, Mr. Richard Aisuebeogun, who raised the alarm when the House of Representativesâ€™ Sub-committee on FAAN visited the agency on its oversight function, spoke against the backdrop of recent molestation by the orderly of a local government chairman at Benin airport.
He told the committee that the refusal of VIPs to submit themselves for screening before boarding constituted a threat to safety as well as a violation of the International Civil Aviation Organisationâ€™s recommended standard practice.
â€œThis matter is a very serious issue. More often than not military men congest screening points at airports to receive or see off their bosses. There are also VIPs who refuse to submit themselves for screening and many of our security men at the screening post have been beaten up for trying to do their job,â€ Aisuebeogun said.
He told the lawmakers that has procured 15 screening machines and metal detectors for airports across the country, adding that contractors had been mobilised for their installations.
Aisuebeogun appealed to the sub-committee and larger House Commiittee on Aviation to assist the agency in prevailing on VIPs and military and para-military personnel to subject themselves to screening before boarding air planes at the nationâ€™s airports and stop molesting aviation security pesonnel for performing their duties.
Obviously concerned by the development, team leader of the committee, Mr. Niyi Jones Akiyugba, also frowned on VIPsâ€™ refusal to be screened, wondering what signals they were sending to the outside world.
He noted the threat such behaviours posed to safety and security at airports, and assured FAAN of its co-operation in efforts to put a stop to the trend.