Obilana Highlights Barriers To Passenger Facilitation, Proffers Solutions
The Chief Executive Officer of Selective Security International, Mr. Ayo Obilana says the existing anomalous situation that has lingered continuously for decades thereby creating numerous challenges regarding delays, gaps, hindrances and sometimes congestion at Nigeria’s international airports impede and negatively impact airport facilitation process and security operations.
Speaking yesterday at the Quarter2 Business Breakfast Meeting (BBM) organized by Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI) at Golfview Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, Obilana identified such impediments multiple and unnecessary checks/regulations as exemplified at Murtala Muhammed Airport with over 15 of them existing on departure and a minimum of five on arrival compared with two or three in the United States and other countries for international travelers; analogue operations or doing things the old way or outdated way; working at cross-purposes by law enforcement operatives thereby causing delay on facilitation; lacking of training in many areas; poorly streamlined passenger data exchange at co-located points; corruption and extortion both on arrival and departure levels; lack of clear cut policies; numerous facilitators without specific statutory functions making the process a compound the process; obsolete profiling methods of passengers; illegal profiling methods/violation of passengers right; government interference by deploying politicians instead of professionals as well as infrastructural constraints.
Obilana advised airline passengers to play their role in facilitation and security process at the airport to avoid delays and unpleasant experiences by supporting the tasking authority to improve and optimize passenger flow crew and cargo at the airport.
“It is hereby advised that passengers should be responsible enough to carry along only valid documents, refrain from using forged travel documents, answer questions truthfully when asked by law enforcement officer(s), avoid confrontation with officials even when provoked, stay within applicable luggage allowance to avoid delay at check-in counter, never smuggle illegal or prohibited items through the airport into a foreign country as it may end in smuggler’s death by execution or beheading, avoid using cell phones at security check points or while undergoing profiling unless permitted, never carry items for unknown persons or third party and arrive airport early enough for airport security and facilitation processing/protocols,” he said.
Obilana further stated that : “without prejudice to the upright and hardworking aviation personnel, I hereby submit that serving or presently designated airport official facilitators here in Nigeria would not be in the position to efficiently and effectively address the challenges hitherto pointed out due to obvious reasons; neither would their respective ministry nor principal officers be able to successfully bring holistic change. The tasking authority at the highest level of government is the only body that stands to holistically, effectively and successfully address the challenges through, the following practical solutions: Well-structured and articulated systems approach, Restructuring in airport facility for speedy processing, Funding – procurement of required equipment/materials for the processing scheme, Training for the process per se.(bring all agencies under an operational umbrella), Empowerment of NCAA to act decisively, Investment in modern technology, – e.g. use of machine readable equipment and access control technology, Discarding analog system or “bank passbook mentality era” of doing things, Pre-profiling technologies for airlines and regulatory authorities to upload traveling documents process passenger check in, bag drop off and subject to verification at the airport (e.g. Of Covid vaccination cards)” and “Periodic audit to ensure closure of existing gaps.”