By Daniel Eteghe
As part of efforts to prevent a repeat of the attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old suspected Nigerian terrorist, who tried to blow up a US- bound aircraft on December 25, 2010, Nigeria has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United States on security.
The MoU signed by the two countries will include timely sharing of security information as it concerns air travel and to also allow air marshals on board aircraft flying in and out of the United States.
The signing of the MoU was disclosed to journalists by Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority NCAA, Dr. Harold Demuren, while delivering a lecture entitled: “Enhanced Aviation Security in Nigeria Airports: Aftermath of December 25, 2009 Attackâ€ at the Nigerian Academy of Engineering Fellow Forum in Lagos, yesterday.
The MoU, according to Demuren, was signed on February 18, 2010 in the wake of attempt by the Abdulmutallab incident which led to the classification of Nigeria as a country of interest as it concerns terrorism.
He added that with this agreement, the two countries could now share security information as it concerns air travel and terrorism, adding that if the information received at the Amsterdam in Netherlands was shared with other security agencies at airports, Abdulmutallab would not have gotten to the stage he got to.
He also revealed that as part of the enhanced security measures put in place by the NCAA, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, and other security agencies at the airports, only the president of Nigeria and his family and the vice Ppresident and his family were exempted from being searched at airport.
He added that other passengers were expected to undergo 100 per cent screening at the airports before they board and that any of the passengers who refused to obey the international regulation as provided by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO, must be denied boarding.
Harold further revealed that as part of the enhanced security measures, FAAN had deployed Explosive Trace Detector, ETD, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.