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TERRORISM: Nigeria, US, UK, Holland agree on new airport security measures

By Ishola Balogun with Agency report
In the wake of last week’s failed bomb attack on a passenger jet, some countries have decided to move quickly to improve airport security in their various international airports.  Nigeria, United States of America and Britain have announced new measures that would check the would-be terrorists and prevent future attacks against aircraft. 

This new measures according to reports will include the use of Full body scanners at the airports.
The head of the Civil Aviation Authority said Nigeria will begin to use full body scanners which will be be acquired for all the country’s international airports in the New Year.

Aslo, the Federal Government, on Wednesday, declared its readiness to make Nigeria a no-go area for terrorists, as it rolled out new security measures at the nation”s airports.

At a world press conference held at the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the authority”s Director-General, Dr. Harold Demuren, who spoke on behalf of other aviation security chiefs, said all airlines had been directed to bar any passenger who refuses to subject to 100 per cent thorough screening from boarding.

In combating terrorism, the government, according to Demuren, had concluded plans to upgrade its security screening system to three directional Total Body Imaging Scanner (3D), which exposes all parts of the body to detect any dangerous item.

It also announced that no person, including crew members, should be allowed to board aircraft without passing through all aviation security screening procedures.

Henceforth, secondary screening of passengers and baggage should be total and performed for all departing flights at the boarding gates, including boarding search, while it has become mandatory to conduct 100 per cent physical inspection of all passenger accessible property at the boarding gate prior to boarding.

“Liquids, gels and aerosols should not be allowed on board aircraft without compliance with the requirements of 100 ml for liquids and placed in transparent resalable plastic bags. 100 per cent screening of checked-in baggage must be performed and positive passenger baggage match should be carried out,”” Demuren said.

Demuren, while fielding questions from journalists, said the latest development was to show government”s determination to prevent terrorists from turning Nigeria to a place where they could launch attacks on any country.

Nigerian-born Mr Abdulmutallab, the bomb attempt suspect was said to have passed through Lagos, Nigeria and Amsterdam-Netherlad airports security without raising concerns.   He is being interrogated for trying to detonate a bomb on a flight as it came in to land in Detroit on Christmas Day.

US President Barack Obama has also ordered a review of air security, and Mr Brown said the UK would work alongside the US and other partners to “move things forward quickly”.

Announcing a review of existing security measures, Prime Minister, Mr Gordon Brown said the UK would “move quickly” to enhance airport security after the “wake-up call” of the failed US plane attack on Christmas Day.

He added that  full-body scanners would be among the new technologies considered.

“We need to continually explore the most sophisticated devices capable of identifying explosives, guns, knives and other such items anywhere on the body,” Mr Brown said.

“So, in co_operation with President Obama and the Americans, we will examine a range of new techniques to enhance airport security systems beyond the traditional measures, such as pat-down searches and sniffer dogs.

“These could include advancing our use of explosive trace technology, full body scanners and advanced X-ray technology.”

The Dutch government also responded by saying body scanners would be introduced for flights to the US from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, where Mutallab took Northwest Airlines Flight 253.

The scanners produce “naked” images and BAA, which owns six UK airports, including Heathrow, says it will await a European ruling on privacy regulations before considering a similar move.

British ministers have been accused of acting too slowly to introduce the scanners.
Meanwhile, Mr Obama has released a statement on a preliminary investigation into the Detroit incident.

He blamed “human and systemic failures” by American intelligence for failing to put Mutallab on its “no fly” list despite receiving warnings that he posed a threat.

The suspect, a former University College of London student, was later refused a UK visa after applying to attend a bogus college.

But Mr Brown pledged to work with the US and other countries to tighten controls on suspected terrorists.
“The UK has one of the toughest borders in the world and we are determined to ensure it stays that way,” he said.

On the e-borders, the UK government’s tightening up  immigration restrictions on  the e-Borders scheme, which it says has screened 112 million passenger movements so far, resulting in over 4,000 arrests, and “significant counter-terrorist interventions”.

Officials are able to monitor people arriving in the UK through a colour coding system – a red alert means passengers are arrested on the plane.

Many airlines are also being asked to send passenger lists and passport details to the UK Border Agency half an hour before departure. By the end of 2010 all commercial flights, and all rail and ferry services, will be asked to provide such lists.

The minimum requirement is each passenger’s name and all the details in their passport.

But the UK Border Agency has the right to ask the carrier for much more information, including their e_mail address, credit card number, car registration number and the name of the person who made the reservation. This can then be checked against immigration, customs and police watch-lists.

Civil liberties campaigners have raised concerns about the scheme but officials say they will only ask for more detailed data on high-risk routes.


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