By Favour Nnabugwu
Less than a week after deployed dogs and bomb detectors at major screening points at the airports, the Federal Government yesterday assured Nigerians travelling in and out of the country secure and smooth flight operations during and after the Eid el Kabir celebrations.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Aviation, Hajiya Binta Bello gave the assurance in a congratulatory message to all Nigerian Muslims in Abuja yesterday, as she joins the rest of the world to mark the end of this year’s pilgrimage.
According to her, “All agencies of the Ministry have been directed to ensure safe and uninterrupted flight operations at all the nation’s airports as Nigerians travel around the country to celebrate, with particular emphasis on promptness of flights, safety and security of air passengers.”
Hajiya Bello also charged airline operators not to use the usual rush to exploit travellers, and to make their operations more passenger-centred with serious attention to flight availability and timeliness, comfort of passengers and safe practices.
She assured the nation of the safety of Nigerian airports as confirmed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) during its recent security audit of the nation’s aviation facilities, adding that the collaboration between aviation security and other relevant agencies has resulted in a robust and an almost unassailable security set-up at the airports.
On the return airlift of pilgrims from the holy land, the Permanent Secretary assures that with the Ministry’s close collaboration with the National Hajj Commission, airline operators and the Saudi authorities, the return trips will be safe, smooth and on schedule.
She congratulated those who have successfully embarked on the pilgrimage and calls on all Nigerians, irrespective of religious leanings, to support the Buhari Administration in its drive to reposition not only the aviation sector, but other facets of the nation’s endeavours.
It will be recalled that the Federal Government, in a statement on Sunday informed Nigerians of secured airports. The new security measures, according to the spokesman of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Yakubu Datti, are to ensure hitch- free movement of passengers and cargo at airports.
He said the airports have been fully mobilized to cater for the upsurge in passenger traffic during the Sallah celebration.
Datti said,” The management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria wishes to assure members of the public, especially passengers and airline operators, that necessary operational and security measures have been put in place at all our airports to ensure hitch-free movement of passengers and cargo during the forthcoming Eid-el- Kabir holidays.
“Our airports are expected to experience considerable upsurge in passenger traffic during this period. “Apart from the statutory security and safety measures already in place at the airports, sniffer dogs and members of the bomb detection unit of the Nigerian Police Force have also been deployed at the airports to complement the effort of our aviation security personnel at the airports’ screening points.