FOLLOWING the first-hand intelligence information received by the Nigerian government that some leaders of the international terrorist organization, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have started sneaking their members from Syria into Nigeria to train terrorists to attack commercial flights, the aviation authorities have tightened up security at the airports.
Dropping this hint yesterday as a swift response to the latest directives from the federal government that relevant aviation authorities should intensify screening of passengers and luggage at the airports, the Nigerian Tribune gathered that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has among others commenced adequate 24 hours patrol of all sterile areas at the airports.
This is just as controversy has started trailing the decision of the Secretary to the Government of Federation (SGF) to directly forward the leaked letter of the planned terrorist attack on the aviation agencies.
A security expert, Group Captain John Ojikutu (retired), said such an intelligence report should have been sent to the National Aviation Security Committee headed by the National Security Adviser to the Presidency who would have looked into the document and bring out the required security details needed to be worked upon by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for onward transmission to other agencies and airline operators to act upon.
According to Ojikutu, a one-time Military Commandant for the Lagos airport and now the Managing Director, Centurion Security, making such an intelligence report a public one may not be in the best interest of the government in view of its sensitivity.
The report should have been sent from the office of the National Security Adviser to the NCAA which would have subsequently issued out in aviation security terms the next line of action to the other aviation agencies and the airlines.
Speaking to the Nigerian Tribune, the General Manager, Corporate Communications at FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu declared that in other not to be caught napping after the intelligence report, that screening and profiling of passengers have been upped with the installation of more security cameras, the Close Circuit Television (CCTV) at strategic points at the airports especially the international airports.
According to Yakubu, besides the screening gadgets, there is the heavy presence of men from the bomb disposal unit watching and monitoring passengers and luggage at the screening points at the airports to frustrate any terrorist attempt.
Equally, there is now a joint military patrol of the airports including the airport’s environment to prevent anyone who does not have any business from accessing the airports.
Her words: “We are doing everything possible to ensure we are not caught napping. It has become impossible for anyone not having any genuine reason for being at the airports henceforth to stray there unnoticed.”
Going round the Murtala Muhammed Airport yesterday, security operatives including the FAAN security (AVSEC), police, soldier, State Security Service (SSS) and other security in uniforms and plain clothes we’re seeing carrying out vigilance at the departure and arrival halls.
The federal government through the office of the secretary to the government of federation, had on May 25, 2018 issued a letter to the Chief Executive Officers of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority Authority (NCAA), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Comptroller General of Customs informing them of the planned terrorist attacks and calling for urgent action.