By Adekunle Williams and Solomon Asowata
Lagos – The Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, says Aviation Security (AVSEC) personnel of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) will soon be licensed to carry arms to complement other agencies in combating security threat.
À statement signed by Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, General Manager, Corporate Affairs, FAAN, in Lagos on Monday, quoted Sirika as making the disclosure at the 2018 AVSEC Retreat in Katsina.
Sirika said discussion was at its final stage for approval, noting that it would further strengthen the integrity of the airports in view of the growing threats to the aviation industry.
“The Federal Government has approved for AVSEC to bear arms, which is a notable achievement in this administration’s effort at improving the general safety of its citizenry and passengers passing through our airports,” he said.
The minister, who was represented by the Rector, Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) Zaria, Capt. Mohammed Abdulsalami, said arming AVSEC would ensure proper policing of the sector.
He noted that rebranding of AVSEC was important towards making its personnel more professional and customer-friendly to meet up with the initiative of the Ease of Doing Business.
Sirika said some foreign investors had shown interest in the country’s growing and expanding aviation industry, stressing that aviation security was seen as a pivotal tool to sustaining safety in all the airports.
“The United Nations decision to establish two aviation security training colleges in the country is another notable achievement of the present administration.
“This is aimed at assisting not only in the war against terrorism, but to also provide a special class of professionally trained AVSEC unit through the training of 30 selected aviation security master trainers that will in turn train others,” he said.
Sirika said that the certification of FAAN training centre by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) could not be over emphasised as it would further strengthen and boost the capacity and technical know how of aviation security personnel in the country.
The Managing Director of FAAN, Mr Saleh Dunoma, was quoted as saying that the authority was investing in aviation to create enabling environment that would encourage efficiency in tackling emerging security threats to civil aviation.
Dunoma disclosed that FAAN recently bought 10 additional patrol vehicles to boost the current fleet of vehicles for effective coverage and patrol.
He said additional screening machines were also procured and old ones replaced at the airports.
The managing director said that the agency had successfully recruited and trained over 230 AVSEC officers.
He said the management and the ministry were poised to equip the AVSEC directorate to enable them discharge their responsibilities effectively and efficiently.
Dunoma called for total commitment, determination and cooperation by all to achieve their desired objectives, both for FAAN, aviation industry and the entire nation.
He urged them to put in their best and respond to all emerging threats in timely manner, while constantly reviewing and upgrading their system holistically.
Dunoma expressed optimism that the retreat would renew their determination, commitment and zeal to achieve the onerous task of enhancing the security of the travelling public.
He charged them to also protect the facilities that government had invested huge funds to provide at the airports.
The Director of Security Services, FAAN, Capt. USA Sadiq, noted that the industry was at a critical juncture in global aviation, where terrorism was assuming a new dimension.
Sadiq noted that security remains pivotal in the actualisation of a safe and secure aviation industry in the war against terrorism. (NAN)