Aviation Security personnel of the Federal Airports Authority will soon begin to issue licensed arms to complement the efforts of other agencies in handling security threats at airports across the country.
The Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika made this known at the AVSEC Retreat in Katsina State, North West of the country.
Senator Sirika said discussions were at their final stage of approval, which would further strengthen the integrity of the airports in view of the growing threats to the aviation industry.
According to him: “The Nigerian Government approved arms bearing for AVSEC which is a notable achievement in this administration’s effort at improving the general safety of its citizenry and passengers passing through our airports.”
The minister, who was represented by the Rector, Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria, Captain Mohammed Abdul Salami, explained that arming aviation security would ensure proper policing of the sector.
He said the approval was part of efforts by President Buhari’s administration to give the country dividends of democracy.
According to him, re-branding of AVSEC (Aviation Security) was important and creating a recognizable a corporate identity for officers with the aim of making them much more professional and customer friendly to meet with the initiative of the Ease of Doing Business.
Senator Sirika said most countries had shown keen interest in the country’s growing and expanding aviation industry, stressing that aviation security was seen as a pivotal tool to sustaining safety.
The Minister noted that the United Nations decision to establish two aviation security training colleges in the country was another notable achievement of the present administration.
According to him, this was aimed at assisting not only in the war against terrorism but to provide a special class of professionally trained AVSEC units through the training of 30 selected aviation security master trainers, who will in turn train others.
Sirika said that the certification of FAAN training centre by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority cannot be over emphasized as it would further strengthen and boost the capacity and technical know-how of aviation security personnel in the country.
The Managing Director of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Saleh Dunoma stated that it was investing in aviation to create enabling environment that would encourage efficiency in tackling emerging security threats to civil aviation.
Dunoma explained that FAAN recently procured 10 additional patrol vehicles to boost the current fleet of vehicles for effective coverage and patrol while additional screening machines were being procured and old ones being replaced.
The MD explained that the agency successfully recruited and trained over 230 AVSEC officers adding that the management and the Minister was poised to equip the AVSEC directorate to enable them discharge their responsibility effectively and efficiently.
The FAAN boss called for total commitment, determination and cooperation by all to achieve the desired objectives both for FAAN, aviation industry and the entire nation.
He urged them to put their best and respond to all emerging threats timely while constantly reviewing and upgrading their system holistically.
Dunoma commended the minister for the time, interest support and initiative assuring that his works will be honoured.
The Director of Security Services, FAAN, Capt U.S. A Sadiq noted that the industry was at a critical stage in global aviation where terrorism was assuming a new dimension.
He stated that securing the airport with CCTV and detecting equipment would enhance the function of AVSEC.