Passengers’ safety: Taking proactive measures at securing Nigeria’s airports

 

In view of a new security threat in Nigeria and at the airport, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) says it plans to install Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras at strategic locations, commencing from the airside of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos. The airport landlord also said that other developmental initiatives to develop the infrastructure would also be unveiled by it soon, writes Sade Williams.

 

 

The recent noise generated by the alleged poaching of passengers’ luggage at Nigeria’s premier airport, Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos may have come and gone, but airport managers, the resilient Federal Airports Authority Nigeria (FAAN), is not leaving any stone unturned in ensuring security and comfort of travellers and airport users.

 

As its new slogan says, ‘FAAN……. Committed to our core values of Safety, Security and Comfort,’ the authority recently disclosed some plans aimed at arresting the situation while particularly saying that plans have reached advanced stage for it to begin to install Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras at the strategic locations within the airside in order to forestall aircraft poaching and other incidences.

 

This is part of the swift response, which Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, General Manager, Corporate Communications of the authority, said will further improve security at that area of airport.

 

Apart from this, she explained that FAAN had embarked on grass cutting at the airside to ensure improved safety and prevention of criminal activities within that area of airport.

 

“What we had in the past was that the ‘Follow Me’ vehicle used to be in the front of aircraft, but we have decided to reverse the order. The vehicles are now at the back of the aircraft to ensure that the aircraft go to parking bay without any incident or aircraft poaching,” she said, recently.

 

Security experts agree that the presence of CCTV cameras as integrated security solutions can also be important for the work ethic and efficiency of employees.

 

They are of the opinion that because passengers and airport workers’ safety and well-being can be placed under threat by an individual who plans to carry out violence or a criminal act, it is vital to integrate adequate protection.

 

“In doing so, the CCTV plays a fundamental role in catching any perpetrators who steals or damages valuable products or machinery, and put employees at risk.”

Engr. Saleh Dunoma, FAAN MD

Speaking to the Travel Port on the issue, Chief executive officer of Selective Security, Mr. Ayo Obilana, described the plan to install CCTV cameras at the airside as a welcomed development, saying this will enhance security at the airport while efficiency will improve.

 

According to him, “the CCTV as a proactive approach is good, but it will be better if it will be accompanied with constant or irregular patrol. When I say irregular patrol, it means the attacker will not know when the personnel will be monitoring unlike constant patrol, both approaches should be added to the CCTV initiative.”

 

Obilana further advised the agency to have stationary guard posts overlooking the airside so they can promptly communicate with the Rapid Response Team via radio as soon as any enemy is seen.

 

Speaking in the same vein, Grp. Capt. John Ojikutu, a retired Commandant at MMIA, says the CCTV is good, but called for effective monitoring by the personnel of the agency.

 

He added: “There should be an intervention to swiftly follow or trace perpetrators, there has to be men ready to intercept quickly in the event of any attack, the follow me vehicle should be at the back of a taxing aircraft.”

 

Ojikutu, who also advocated the setting aside of 20 per cent of the $20 security levy from each passenger, for improving security of passengers at the airports’, opined that FAAN should have at least two ‘Follow Me’ vehicles at MMIA and one at domestic wing in order to make the airside safe for users and equipment.

 

Another security expert, Mr. Bayo Babatunde, Chief Executive officer, AVSCON Ltd, advised that all the perimeter fences areas should be covered by the CCTV “irrespective of the status of the terminal.”

 

According to him, ‘It is a standard measure prescribed by the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) that first, there must be perimeter fence and now the CCTV monitoring should cover up to the fencing areas.

 

“The CCTV is a means of monitoring, the ordinary eye cannot see or pick up to 200 kilometers but should be complemented with such cameras that pick and track beyond that”, he said.

 

Mrs. Yakubu, who is positive about the efficiency of FAAN’s new action when in place, explained that the authority plans to make the airside and other strategic places at the airport, inaccessible to criminals.

 

“Apart from the CCTV, we want to install floodlights at strategic places too to illuminate the airside, one of the directors has just arrived Nigeria from Dubai where he had gone to make enquiries about the CCTV, we have now placed orders for them and very soon we will get them installed”, she promised.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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