By Sumaila Ogbaje
Abuja – The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and other aviation agencies have commenced the implementation of the ‘executive order’ on ease of doing business at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo on May 18 signed three orders on ease of doing business in the country.
When the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) visited the Airport on Tuesday, it was observed that the multiple checks at the departure hall of the international wing have been harmonised.
An airport official, who spoke with NAN on condition of anonymity, said the major change that had taken place in the airport was the harmonisation of the security checks.
He said that task force desk at the international departure hall had been removed, adding that all the security screening were now done with scanner at the entrance.
The official explained that the Police Anti-Bomb Squad, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) and other security agencies had been moved to the Aviation Security screening point.
According to the source, there is no more physical checking by the security agencies but the Customs and Immigration operatives are still doing their normal jobs.
“Passengers are very happy with this development that some of them are even saying that if this change is the only thing the government has done they are okay,’’ he said.
Mr Muktar Kadi, a businessman and Saudi Arabia bound passenger, said he had noticed some changes in the style of screening, adding that his luggage was not opened at the departure hall.
Kadi said the executive order had ushered in positive changes, saying that the new style would bring improvement to the nation’s airports.
“So far, from the security check to this point, there are a lot of changes because nobody has opened my luggage till now.
“I think it is an improvement because the usual harassment from the security agencies when you are trying to check into departure is no more.
“Physically, they didn’t check my bags; it was only through the scanner.
“The most annoying thing before now is that they open people’s bags anyhow but today so far, nobody has done that,’’ he said.
Mrs Julian Buala, travelling to Dubai, said the new checking method was a welcome development in the nation’s airport, saying it was the standard practice in other parts of the world.
Buala said the old style where there were multiple checks at both departures and arrival halls often lead to waste of time.
She said that she usually felt embarrassed by action of the officials.
According to her, a situation where agencies are working as if they were working for different governments was worrisome but it is a good thing that they are now harmonised.
“Some of the agencies even treat you as if you are already a criminal and that did not speak well of our country, Nigeria.
“Security, I understand is not about the number of check points or personnel but the level of coordination just like it is now both in Lagos and Abuja,’’ she added.
NAN recalls that the Managing Director of FAAN, Mr Saleh Dunoma said recently that there would be a single screening unit at the departure halls of all the airports.
Dunoma also said that henceforth, agencies would check luggage of passengers at designated areas and not within the departure halls, as was the case before.
Also, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has prepared a standard document outlining its core functions and services, appropriate charges, fees, licences, waivers and other tax-related processes to implement the order.