Louis Ibah, Katsina
The Federal Government has approved and authorised civilian Aviation Security (AVSEC) personnel employed by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to bear arms as part of new measures aimed at boosting security and safety across Nigerian airports.
Minister of State for Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika, said this on Monday at a retreat organised by AVSEC personnel in Katsina, Katsina State.
“The Federal Government has given approval for Aviation Security (AVSEC) to bear arms, which is a notable achievement in this administration’s effort at improving the general safety of its citizenry and passengers passing through our airports,” said Sirika.
“Arming AVSEC will ensure proper policing of the sector by AVSEC personnel. This is part of efforts by the President Buhari administration to give the country dividends of democracy,” he added.
Sirika expressed optimism that the policy would complement the jobs of other airport security organisations in view of the growing threats to the Nigerian aviation industry.
The decision by the United Nations (UN) to establish two aviation security training colleges in the country was, according to the Minister, a notable achievement of the Buhari administration.
The move is aimed at not only the war against terrorism but also to establish a professionally trained AVSEC unit through the training of 30 select aviation security master trainers, who will in turn train others.
According to the Minister, whose speech was read by the Rector Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) Zaria, Captain Mohammed Abdulsalami, the rebranding of AVSEC was important in creating a recognisable corporate identity for officers to be more professional and customer-friendly in line with the federal government’s Ease-of-Doing-Business policy initiative.
Sirika indicated that most countries have shown a keen interest in the country’s expanding aviation industry, stressing that aviation security is pivotal to maintaining safety in all Nigerian airports.
In his speech, The Director, Security Services of FAAN, Captain Usa Sadiq, said that the security industry was at a critical point in global aviation where terrorism is assuming new dimensions.
Capt. Sadiq stressed the need to deploy all physical and material resources to close all security loopholes.
Securing the airport with CCTV and detection equipment, he said, will enhance the function of AVSEC and also encourage efficiency in taking on emerging threats to civil aviation.