Last weekend the country’s aviation sector witnessed another drama which this time around had to do with security breach at the Kaduna Airport.
It is no longer news how some gunmen beat all the security network at the airport by not only crossing the restricted airside of the airport, but proceeded to the quarters housing some workers of the various aviation agencies where they abducted eleven workers consisting of families of a staff of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and that of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET). The rest is now history.
Presently, the abductors are yet to contact the management of the two agencies directly involved or that of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the organization responsible for the management of the federal government airports across the country.
Since the sad news broke out, the sector has not remained the same as reactions from the different key players towards the security challenge have once again touched on the obvious porousity at the airports.
As expected, the managing director of FAAN, Captain Rabiu Hamisu Yadudu, the man on whose shoulder the running of the airport hangs, has come out to call for calm saying the organization and other relevant government bodies are on top of the situation.
Speaking on the development, the FAAN MD declared: “The fence was broken, there are security measures. We have security personnel attending to the area, but somehow, somewhere, things happened and now it is time for us to counter as we have been doing always.
“Security is a race. Security challenges will always come and we will improve and on our own part, we keep improving to outsmart them. Anytime there is a breach of the security architecture, we will still do the same thing. Our staff can attest to this, the state government can attest to this and even the security agencies can tell you this.”
One obvious point amidst all these dramas is that the leakages around the country’s airports did not just begin today or yesterday and even though the present management of FAAN and the federal government are trying their best through infrastructure upgrade, security of the airports still fell below the ladder.
It is on record that many of the airports including even the international airports are so porous that they lack security components like perimeter fences with free encroachment by undesirable elements who effortlessly access the airports through the many available entry points.
Without doubt, the gunmen that invaded and abducted the eleven airport workers last week must have discovered an opening probably through where they entered the Kaduna airport to achieve their evil purpose.
While this is not the time to start passing the buck, it has been established that all is not well with Nigeria’s airport security, hence, there is an urgent need for the government at the center to act fast and tackle the situation headlong.
There is no point beating about the bush by the federal government any longer as the time has come for the officials to realize the fact that the responsibility of making the airports safe and secured is not what should be pushed to FAAN.
The responsibility of keeping the airport safe and secure falls on the table of national security department of the presidency and therefore, should be treated as such.
While the country has been lucky not to have recorded a major security breach in any of the airports despite some dangerous and worrisome attempt by undesirable elements to attack the country through the airports, this luck should not be taken for granted for the gunmen who could access the Kaduna airport effortlessly are capable of carrying out a more dastardly act like full scale terrorism.
At this point, just like the reactions coming from the various key players across the sector, there is an urgent need for the government to release emergency funds to be used to secure the airports surroundings.
For now government should shift its energy away from the so called plans to concession the four vibrant airports across the country to first addressing the security lapses at the airports.
There is no point concessioning the solid four international airports leaving out the weaker ones without critical safety components like perimeter fences thereby exposing the lives of airport workers and user to danger. Concessioning or privatizing the goose that lays the golden egg and shying away from upgrading others will tantamount to toying with national security.
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