#EndSARS protests and airport safety

NO doubt, the ongoing EndSARS protests across the country is a just course meant to remind those in places of authority in the country that at a certain point in the course of their duties, the people’s voices must surely count no matter how long it takes.

The protests mostly being spearheaded by the youth who are frustrated by the style of governance and alleged looting of the national treasury by the called leaders have spread to many states of the federation, businesses and sectors of the economy as the protesters take their actions to all areas including sensitive places where government can actually feel the impact.

It was therefore not a surprise that the protesters targeted the airports as one of such strategic points where any action there will not only put the government under pressure to meet their demands but also attract global attention to happenings in the country.

Absolutely, airport workers are not against the protests as everyone including workers in the entire sector share the same ideologies with the protesters. After all, the sector is not free from government policies and alleged lack of transparency in many ongoing projects like the concessions and disregard for civil service rules with the imposition of both fresh merited and unmerited employees at the expense of existing workers which have greatly lowered the morale of the workers.

As the protests continue, the workers and other stakeholders may not be seen physically on the streets, but their hearts are surely with the protesters as they will still have to carry out their primary role of connecting Nigeria to other parts of the world through air transport.

Again, since making the airports free from any distraction will only promote safe flight operations, it is therefore expected that the airport environment must be protected from any attack.

Prior to the EndSARS protests, key players across the country had questioned the security and safety of many of the airports, particularly the Lagos airport as the number one gateway viz a viz its porosity.

The records of security breaches at the Lagos airport, though not limited to it, reminds someone of the failures of government to protect people’s investments and save lives of travelers and airport users despite the huge fortunes it generates; and this is in line with the ongoing EndSARS protesters’ grievances. This luck must however not be taken for granted.

The protesters in their hundreds were seen marching through the terminal building at the international airport on Monday, with travelers including foreigners inside the terminal building expressing shock and disbelief that this can happen.

Obviously, if the protesters had wanted to get inside the terminal building directly, it would not have been difficult or if they had wanted to attack the aircraft on ground, they would have achieved it successfully.

The latest development has again sparked debate among stakeholders with questions being raised about safety and security at the Lagos airport like other airports with a call on government at the center not to abandon the safety and security of the airport to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) alone to avoid inviting a national disaster.

The Lagos airport is too open with unlimited access routes such as Oshodi/Mafoluku/Beesam axis and Shasha axis, among others.

Without proper fencing of the airport, reduction in the number of access routes and the restriction of those who access the airport through the tollgate, the security network on ground at the airport may not meet the desired need.

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