Why We Support House Of Reps’ Position On Airport Security Reforms, ART
The Aviation Round Table Safety Initiative (ASRTI) has commended the speaker of the House of Representatives for spearheading the initiative to reform the security outlay at Nigeria’s international airports in support of the Federal Government’s Ease of Doing Business, (EODB) program.
As statement from ASRTI says “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 organizations, family and friends.
The same facilitation is being provided to ‘VIPs’, passengers often regarded as ‘VIPs” are 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 our 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 Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations delegated FAAN to coordinate all security agencies in and around the airport but did not give them authority over other security organizations working at the airports. 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.
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.
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 foremost aviation NGO further explains that “To contain the threats to civil aviation operations and adhere 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. Some of the security organs generally include autonomous security agencies such as Customs, Immigration, Police, the Military in some cases, Drug Law Agency, etc.
On the other hand, the NCAA Act though empowers the agency to foster the development and safety of the industry. The Act limited 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 FAAN security in any Nigerian international airports.
This has made crisis management in the airport security apparatus cumbersome and implementation of amendments to Annex 17 almost unworkable.”