By Kenneth Ehigiator
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, has completed the construction of an emergency operation centre at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, as part of efforts to prepare the airport for FAA Category 1 certification which the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, is currently pursuing.

The multi-million naira World Bank-assisted project is a control centre that would coordinate emergency situations, such as fire rescue, bomb threat, hijack rescue operation or terrorist activities at airports.

The availability of an EOC is a basic requirement for the certification of international airport by ICAO.

FAAN’s Managing Director, Mr. Richard Aisuebeogun, said the project was 95 per cent completed at MMIA, Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, while that of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano was 50 percent.

He explained that provision had been made for an Emergency Operation Centre at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, in the 2010 budget.

Mr. Aisuebeogun, who disclosed these while outlining the World Bank assisted projects in FAAN to the visiting World Bank supervision mission in Lagos yesterday, said all the projects were interdependent on safety and security at airports across the country.

According to him, the provision of CCTV is of great importance, especially with the recent terrorist threats in the aviation world.

He appealed to the World Bank to ensure early completion of the project, stressing that there was need to improve on the technology of the CCTV for optimum performance.

Aisuebeogun noted that the provision of equipment for electronic identity card system and badges would assist FAAN in identifying those barred from restricted areas of the airport.

He, however, appealed to the World Bank to improve on the level of performance of the project by providing more logistic support to the Project Steering Committee to ensure the completion of the entire project in 2010.

He also urged the World Bank team to assist the agency in the provision of equipment and other related materials for the mitigation of bird strike hazard at the country’s airports.

Aisuebeogun appealed to the bank to assist in provision of additional 3D body scanners for all the international airports in the country.

The leader of the team, Mr. Pierre Pozzo di Borgo, said the supervision mission was in Nigeria on routine supervision mission, which the bank carries out twice a year.

He noted that the World Bank project in FAAN commenced in June 2008 and that all the projects were expected to be completed by June 2011.

He said the provision of fire tenders for FAAN would be completed by May 2010 and assured of the bank’s readiness to assist the agency on airport security.

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