To permanently put an end to airport incursions by unauthorised persons, the federal government has embarked on series of efforts to fortify the major and some other airports in the country.
Some of the airports include the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa and the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
This year alone, the Lagos airport recorded two incidents due to security lapses. In January this year, an aircraft leased by Arik Air was accessed and critical equipment was stolen at the domestic terminal of the airport. Also, in September 2022, a man boarded United Nigeria Airlines aircraft parked at the domestic section of the airport.
In response to these incidents, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has started series of security programmes to improve the security architecture of the airports.
The agency said it has improved the security patrol of the Lagos and other international airports in the country and has concluded plans to install airport security cameras that captures and follows the direction of every movement around it.
This, FAAN said, would be installed at the perimeter area of the airports in addition to close circuit television already installed at these airports.
The Managing Director of FAAN, Capt. RabiuYadudu, disclosed that the agency had also increased security and safety within the airport environment by ensuring constant lighting through the walkways and the car park for the safety and comfort of airport users.
He said CCTV was put in place strategically all around the airports for increased security and monitoring and telephone numbers made available for the report of any suspicious movement around the airport.
In addition to these efforts, FAAN said it is also reviewing and upgrading of perimeter fencing and operational road construction and maintenance at many airports.
Yadudu said the fortification of security at airports in the country, would include the training of security personnel, coordination of joint security operatives including the agency’s Aviation Security (AVSEC), the police, the Nigeria Air Force and other security operatives to man each airport.
FAAN added that it has also acquired and installed security equipment to add to the existing ones and also removed the obsolete ones to ensure efficient security system and to ensure that every passenger who passed through any of the airports is captured both on domestic and international travel.
“We just installed brand new scanning machines at the Lagos airport recently. We installed about 15 at the Lagos airport alone and more will still be installed. We have installed the walk-ins security equipment. These include L3 scanning machines. I think five is number of the walk-through and additional 10 are the scanning machines. We don’t talk too much because we don’t want to be distracted as an industry,” he said.
Yadudu had while speaking at the Airlines Business Summit and Expo held at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos said there would be overall effort to provide effective and efficient service to air travellers by FAAN.
He noted that in addition to security of lives of passengers and other airport users, the agency has provided facilities to further improve the airports as service provider aimed at passenger satisfaction.
“Statistics from National Bureau of Statistics indicated that ‘Aviation industry generated N198.62 billion, translating to a contribution of a 0.14 per cent to the GDP in 2019.’ In this light, our aviation industry is up and doing as it was recognised as the fastest growing sector of Nigerian economy in 2019, according to the report of the National Bureau of Statistics. It gladdens my heart to say that our successes are not only seen in these infrastructural developments, but also in the growth in our airports statistics. Our passenger traffic grew from 9,358,166 in 2020 to 15,886,955 in 2021, showing a significant increase by over 69 per cent. The aircraft movement also increased by over 46 per cent from 2020 in 2021, while total cargo was about 191 Tons in 2020, but increased to about 391 Tons in 2021,” he said.
To improve on the airports, he said FAAN carried out the installation of Airfield Ground Lighting System (AGLS) at Lagos Domestic runway, after 12 years of neglect, and provided 45 carry-on baggage screening machines, 40 hold-on baggage screening machines, 15 cargo screening machines, four 3D body scanners, refurbishment of six fire tenders and full maintenance of 36 fire tenders.