…ask security agencies to beef up security at airports
…invite Aviation Minister to brief lawmakers on the invasion of Kaduna airport by bandits
By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
House of Representatives has asked the office of the National Security Adviser, NSA and the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to immediately stop issuing licenses to oil serving companies for the importation of explosives.
The House also asked security agencies to beef up security at the nation’s airports.
Chairman of the House Committee on Mines and Steel Development, Hon. Micheal Enyong Okon in a ruling after an investigative hearing of the Committee probing the licensing and sale of explosive devices by chief executives of some oil servicing companies in Nigeria gave the directives.
He said that the committee hearing was on general compliance of these companies to the permits, licensing and sale of explosive devices to end-users in compliance with the Explosives Act 2013.
Okon said that the companies were not complying with the extant laws.
The chairman met with AOS Orwell limited and Halliburton Limited said they were flouting the laws and permits on their sale of explosives.
The committee said that the companies were importing more than authorised, fearing that the explosives could get into the hand of terrorists who may use them against the country.
Okon said: “With the prevailing security situation in our country, there is a need to ascertain the adherence of these companies to extant statutes and regulations on explosives control vis-a-vis the administration and utilization generally.
It is important that we educate them on the need to ensure that the administration and utilization of explosives are in accordance with the Explosives Act of 1967 as contained in the laws of Nigeria.
“The permit is issued by the Ministry of Mines and Steel and the end-users certificate is also issued by the office of the National Security Adviser, NSA.
“The end-user certificate will also show the items you brought into the country. You can have less of these products. It is not a problem but when you have more than what was authorized, what you were allowed in the permit, it, therefore, means that you are importing these explosives illegally into the country and so, it is worrisome, especially in the prevailing security situation in the country.
“And so, we want to know the whereabouts of these explosives. We want to make sure these particular item does not end up in the wrong hands. It can be terrorists, aliens. That’s why we are here to make sure there is a corresponding inventory from the end-users”.
Other companies expected to appear before the committee next week included Baker Hughes, Sterling Oil, Drilling Technologies and Schlumberger.
Similarly, the House at plenary underscored the need to secure airports across the country.
Considering a motion titled “Need to Secure Airports Across the Country”, by Hon. Musa Mohammed Pali, the House noted that “on 6 March 2021 bandits invaded the Staff quarters of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) at Kaduna Airport and kidnapped about 11 people.”
It expressed concern that if attacks and other security challenges were allowed in the nation’s airports “which are the safest means of transportation today and high forex earner for the economy”, Nigeria’s air transport will be exposed to the security challenges facing the land transport.
“The bandits were reported to have gained access to the airport staff quarters through the runway and made away with their victims, including a Staff of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency and the wife and son of a Staff of the Nigerian Metrological Agency.
“If the security around Nigeria’s airport is not urgently improved, it could scare International Travellers including investors and may bring sanctions from International Regulatory Bodies”, Pali said while moving the motion.
Adopting the motion, the House resolved to invite the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika to brief the Committee on Aviation on how the bandits gained entrance into the Kaduna airport and how to prevent future reoccurrences in the nation’s airports.
The House also urged Inspector–General of Police, Adamu Mohammed and other security operatives at the nation’s airports to beef up security to prevent such breach and to secure the release of the abducted people and fish out the bandits.
It mandated its Committees on Aviation, Police and Interior to ensure compliance with the resolution and report back within 3 weeks for further legislative action.