Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday was presented with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) certificate for improved aviation security in the country.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, briefed State House Correspondents at the end of its presentation at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to him, the country has achieved over 96 per cent improvement in aviation security, adding that Nigeria was among 16 countries with improved aviation security from a survey conducted by ICAO among 193 countries.
The country was presented with the certificate in Canada.
The Minister said that President Buhari was delighted with the certificate showing that his passion and drive have not gone unnoticed.
Sirika said: “Today, Nigeria has shifted from where it was in aviation security because we have scored 96.4 per cent. 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 President took over, we were very marginally scored in terms of security and safety.”
The Minister, while recalling how some passengers of Turkish Airline threatened airport officials in 2015, said the incident was a wake-up call to aviation officials in the country which led to an improved 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 reorganise 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.
Those are some of the other things we put in place to deal specially with insider security that got us somewhere on the world map of aviation security.”
Sirika who explained that Nigeria was certified alongside 15 other countries, said: “ICAO which has the statutory responsibility of monitoring, policing or regulating the world of aviation and setting standards, took a survey of 193 member countries of ICAO from among which 16 were found to have improved security in their aviation system tremendously and gladly, Nigeria was one of those 16 countries.