By Kenneth Ehigiator
U.S. Secretary for Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, is due in Abuja today on the invitation of the federal government to assess steps taken so far to strengthen aviation security at the nation’s international airports.
Her invitation, it was learnt, may be connected with efforts by the Nigerian government to convince its U.S. counterpart on the need to remove the country’s name from its terror watch list.
Nigeria got on the list in the wake of last December’s terror attempt on an American airliner by a Nigerian, Farouk Mutallab, in Detroit, Michigan.
The visit, Vanguard also gathered, is to enable her meet with officials in charge of security matters from other African countries who are converging on Abuja, alongside those of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), to review steps already taken by African governments to ward of threats to aviation security.
Confirming the visit in a statement, Press Secretary, Homeland Security Department, Steven Clark, said the visit, the fourth in the series, was part of efforts by the U.S. government to guide Nigeria to put in place all the infrastructure and facilities necessary to guarantee safety and security at the nation’s airports.
The statement read:Â “Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will travel to Abuja, Nigeria, on April 11 at the invitation of the Nigerian government to meet with her African counterparts and officials from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to discuss ways to bolster global aviation security.
“This will be the fourth in a series of major international meetings hosted by ICAO member states in which Secretary Napolitano will participate to build consensus on strengthening global aviation security and determining specific steps which nations can take individually and collectively to protect all passengers from threats of terrorism.”
A source told Vanguard that the recent security breah at Margaret Ekpo International Airport in Calabar will form part of the agenda of discussions between Napolitano and Nigerian aviation and security officials.