ARTSI Hails House Of Reps Speaker For Championing Security Reforms At Int’l Airports 

 

 

* ART President ,Mr .Gbenga Olowo

The Aviation Round Table Safety Initiative(ARTSI) has  commended the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila for championing  the initiative to reform the security outlay at Nigeria’s international airports in support of the Federal Government’s Ease of Doing Business, (EODB) programme.

The ARTSI commended the speaker in a  statement signed by the Assistant General Secretary, Mr. Olumide ohunayo and made available to newsmen today.

The statement stated that to contain the threats to civil aviation operations and adherence to international standard of safeguarding the airports ,governments of most developed nations worldwide maintain full complement of national security organs in their airports especially those serving international flight operations.

The professional group listed some of the security organs to include autonomous security agencies such as Customs, Immigration, Police, the Military in some cases, Drug Law Agency among others.

It added that though the NCAA Act  empowers the agency to foster the development and safety of the industry, the Act however  limits its role to core operators in the industry such as airport and Airspace Management Agencies, airlines, ground handlers and other service providers while other security outfits are excluded, judging by the number and strength of all the officials combined which outnumbers that of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria( FAAN) security in any Nigerian international airports.

This, the statement said  has made crisis management in the airport security apparatus cumbersome and implementation of amendments to Annex 17 almost unworkable.

It further posited that officials of the government security agencies working at the airport often cross the line of the duty when on or off duty to provide quick airport facilitation through the passenger checkpoint screening and access control gate to passengers tagged as officials of parent organisations, family and friends.

The same facilitation,it said  is being provided to ‘VIPs’, passengers who are often  escorted by uniform security agents and are also given free access into the airport security control area while some are seen loitering around car parks and drop off zone within the airport making a mockery of the nation’s  international gateways.

“Unfortunately, most developing nations of Africa including Nigeria are too slow in providing practical support to enhanced aviation security project that would enable them to rectify their deficiencies in area of airport security, having all government security agencies working at the airports under ONE control and administration is ideal and a new normal,” the statement said.

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations(NCARs),ARTSI said delegated FAAN to coordinate all security agencies in and around the airport but did not give them authority over other security organisations working at the airports, adding that this nebulous structure has increased the menace of touting and extortion at the airports which must be tackled squarely while traveling through the airports must be made seamless

“In combating this and other challenges we appeal to the government to discontinue the present security system coordinated by FAAN, establish an autonomous and encompassing transport security agency. It is also incumbent on the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to ensure that a wholistic Aviation Security framework within the Nigerian Civil Aviation Security Programme (NCASP) is put in place that will cater for both physical and cybersecurity needs of the industry.

“We endorse the proposed bill and timeline given and enjoin all industry participants to work towards its success by participating in all hearings and meetings that will midwife the bill into law, the Bill would ensure a single security outfit similar to Transport Security Administration, (TSA) in United States of America that would take charge of security at the airports,” the statement said

Recalled that the  speaker has asked the agencies and house committees to come up within two weeks a bill that would ensure a single security outfit for our airports.

 

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