By HUGO ODIOGOR
Travellers within Nigeria air space may face fresh security and safety procedures as the nations aviation authorities take steps to check anarchists that want to commit terror attack at the airport and aviation facilities.
This is coming as part of the response to the spate of bombings in Abuja and Jos and several bomb scares. Saturday Vanguard had reported two weeks ago of the soft spots in Nigeria that are vulnerable to possible security breaches.
It was learnt that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and the Federal Aviation Authority have been directed to take further security measures to ensure the safety of passengers and aviation assets in the country. The measures will include ensuring that only people who are travelling are allowed within the airport vicinity.
It will further require the introduction of bomb detectors and other gadgets to screen cars going into airports. Only authorised persons and security vehicles will be allowed to enter the run way areas, while passengers will be required to be at the airport much earlier to face different security procedures that will be introduced.
The Aviation sector is regarded as the gateway into the country and a critical sector of the economy that caters for high net worth individuals in business, government, foreigners and professionals whose activities impact in no small measure on the economy. It is also regulated by global safety and security standards set by the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO). “This means that we have to comply with international safety standards, we cannot afford to be sloppy”
Said one source: “The need to take pro-active security measure has also being informed by the recent CAT-1 certification given to Nigeria which means that all types of aircraft can land into Nigeria on account of the high standards of aviation asset and safety standards, we cannot allow any slip which will set us back.”
Saturday Vanguard gathered that the Minister for Aviation Mrs. Fidelia Njeze last week told those managing air transport system to sit up as the country must work extra hard to sustain the CAT-1 status.
“We intend to introduce appropriate technology but as you know, technology is not a panacea. It is a very useful tool for finding explosive devices and weapons concealed on a person or in luggage, but it is predictable and reactive.
You will recall that the measure requiring passengers to remove their shoes and scanning them prior to boarding followed the shoe-bombing attempt by a passenger in US; and restrictions were placed on liquids and gels following the failed 2006 Trans Atlantic plot which was uncovered in London. The Christmas day underwear bomb attempt by Abdulmutallab shows how innovative these evil minds can be. So, certain practical and effective steps have to be taken,” the source said, adding:
“We believe that there are loopholes which these men can exploit in the process. Since the war on terror began, such measures as screening techniques like X-ray systems have been used but it cannot detect explosives cleverly disguised in carry-on baggage or smuggled past security checkpoints.
“There are concerns among passengers that while some of security practices may have been successful in preventing terrorist attacks against the airline, they have resulted in invasion of privacy and personal liberties, hence there is the need for the NCAA and the other stake holders to carry the media along”