Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika says the country has achieved over 96 percent improvement in aviation security.
The Minister made the announcement on Tuesday, when speaking to State House Correspondents after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said the International Civil Aviation Organisation ICAO did the rating after a series of screening and checks.
He said: “Today Nigeria has shifted from where it was in aviation security because we have scored 96.4 percent. I have just seen the President and delivered to him something that we are very proud of as Nigerians; a certificate for improved security in civil aviation.
“Civil aviation is about safety and security, how very safe and secure you depart a point and land at the other point. At the time the current President took over we were very marginally scored in terms of security and safety.”
The Minister, who recalled how some passengers of Turkish Airline threatened airport officials in 2015, said the incident gave a wake-up call to aviation officials in the country and they kept improving the security architecture across the country’s airports, leading to the attainment of a near perfect situation.
Giving details of how the country was able to attain the feat, the Minister said:
“We developed a template for security, engaged experts, came for approval from the President and he graciously approved that we re–organise the system to make it better. We included the appointment of key individuals including the Head of Aviation Security in the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria FAAN where we found a seasoned Group Captain who was a security expert himself and got him trained on aviation security and deployed him as Head of security. Among other things we put things in place to deal specially with insider security and that got us somewhere on the world map of aviation security.”
Sirika said Nigeria was certified alongside 15 other countries, after a world wide survey on security by the International Civil Aviation Organisation ICAO.
“ICAO which is the having the statutory responsibility of monitoring, policing or regulating the world of aviation and setting standards, took a survey of 193 member countries of ICAO form among which 16 were found to have improved security in their aviation system tremendously and gladly, Nigeria was one of those 16 countries.
“Our score from the audit of ICAO was 96.4 percent, a remarkable improvement from a country that was scoring less than 50 percent in the past. Today, form the approvals we got form our President, his guidance and counselling, we have been able to raise that to 96 percent, which is near perfect and in recognition of that, the country Nigeria received a certificate in Montreal Canada during the General Assembly of ICAO and we are proud to announce that.” he said.
The Aviation Minister was delighted at the feat recorded by Nigeria, which has brought fame and made the country’s aviation sector more secured.
Sirika said all necessary steps would be taken to ensure that the country maintains the standard and continue to do well in aviation.
“It wasn’t overnight that we scored 96 percent it took over there years of hard work to achieve it and we will continue to do so,” he pledged.
The Minister said 721 aviation security personnel had since been profiled and trained by the State Security Service on handling of guns and lot more and would soon be deployed to enhance security at the country’s airports.