Unending Stowaway Incidents: Aviation Security Expert Says NCAA Should Be Blamed
…Asks For Review Of Airport Security Profiles, thorough Checks On Arik Air
The Chief Executive Officer of Centurion Securities and former Commandant of Murtala Muhammed International Airport(MMIA),Lagos, Group Capt .John Ojikutu(rtd) has stated that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority(NCAA) should held responsible for the stowaway incidents experienced at Nigerian airports and involving Arik Air.
This is just as he called on the regulatory body to immediately review all the security profiles of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos and in particular carry checks on Arik Air.
He stated that the frequent stowaway incidents was giving Nigeria a bad name in the aviation circle and that what the frequency of occurrence speaks a lot about the nature of security at Nigeria airports.
His outburst is coming on the heels of the several stowaways that were recorded on Arik Air, Lagos Airport and the latest one in which a lifeless body of unidentified stowaway was found in the main wheel well of one of Arik Air’s A330-200 aircraft at the Oliver Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg.
He said this while speaking at the Aviation Round Table Safety Initiative(ARTSI) organised Quarter four 2016 Breakfast Meeting with the theme, “Aviation Security In The Midst Of Home Grown Terrorism” at Golfview Hotel and Suite, Lagos.
He contended that there had been several stowaway incidents emanating from Lagos airport and Arik Air, adding that it was high time the NCAA take a serious look at the airport security programme and the airline itself.
According to him, “If you cannot protect airlines, you are not carrying out your responsibilities. If NCAA is harmstrung something is wrong with all of us.”
Ojikutu lamented that there were too many entrances to Nigerian airports, which according to him people use to get access to the airside and aircraft.
He hinted that most Nigerian airports don’t have perimeter fence, adding that this provides access for people to gain access to the airside and aircraft.
On the security at the international wing of Lagos Airport, the former Airport Commandant stated that he was aware that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) coordinates Aviation Security (AVSEC) but that this same agency of government cannot coordinate Police, Customs, Immigration and other agencies.
This, he further posited is not the best in the event of any crisis or emergency nobody will be in charge.
To buttress his point, Ojikutu pointed out that the United States learnt a lot from 9/11 by enforcing the Al Gore Commission and recommendations on aviation security, urging Nigeria to borrow a leave from the United States
Recalled that the commission’s primary conclusion was that the failures of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) permitted the terrorist attacks to occur and that if these agencies acted more wisely and more aggressively, the attacks could potentially have been prevented.
On his part, a Aviation Security Expert, Mr Ayo Obilana re-echoed Ojikutu’s assertion that something was wrong with the security at Nigerian airports especially the international wing of MMA, Lagos.
Obilana added that apart from the stowaways, others issues, the several security checks at the international wing of the airport are terrorists.
He wondered why the airport should have 15 security checks, adding that to worsen the case Lagos Airport is still using ‘Dash Table, a table he described as extortion centre for security agents.
He advised the Federal Government to reduce the 15 security checks at Lagos to three, adding that this will save passengers a lot of time.
On the way forward, Obilana stated that there should be legislation, adding that laws guiding aviation security were obsolete and should be reviewed.
Other solution includes review of security procedures, training of personnel, provision of modern equipment and to do more of intelligence gathering to enhance airport security.
The AVSEC expert added that above all, there should be a well structured security programme for airports.