By Chinelo Obogo
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has said it will not shutdown the Kaduna International Airport despite the abduction of over eight airport staff last Saturday at the agency’s residential quarters.
The Managing Director of FAAN, Capt.Hamisu Yadudu said this over the weekend at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, during an oversight function visit by the Senate Committee on Aviation. This is as the Managing Director of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, said the kidnappers have not made any contact with the agency.
Gunmen had on Saturday, March 6, stormed the residential quarters of FAAN in Kaduna and abducted members of staff of NAMA and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) but the kidnappers are yet to contact security agencies.
Yadudu said the attack on its staff quarters is unfortunate but that the management, the State Government and the various security agencies would continue doing its best to ensure the safety of lives and property across all the airports in the country.
“This incident is entirely different from closing down the airport. It’s a security concern that we have at our staff quarters. A lot of our staff do not even live in this quarters. If there is need for us to close, we will close it, but this is even far away from it. There is no need for that drastic action. Just small percentage of our staff stay in the staff quarters; the rest are all living in the town. You can see that the staff quarters is fenced. We are taking appropriate measures, but like I said, we just have to improve to counter these challenges. The fence was broken, there are security measures. We have security personnel attending to the area, but somehow, somewhere, things happened and now it is time for us to counter as we have been doing always,” Yadudu said.
Meanwhile, Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Smart Adeyemi, has canvassed for state and local government policing as a way of enhancing the security architecture in and around the country. He said it is important to embrace of local government policing, stressing that Nigeria as a federating unit should not shy away from taking a decisive action to tackle the menace.
He agitated for the restructuring of the entire country in a bid to address the various security challenges confronting it and wondered why some continued to kick against restructuring. He said the agitation for restructuring won’t lead to secession of the country as claimed in some quarters.
“There is a need for us to evolve new security architecture for Nigeria. Our population has increased and we are still faced with porous borders. Nigeria is not a clear cut federal system. I don’t know how to describe this country; federal system or unitary system, but I do know that Nigeria is said to be a federation and all nations where federalism is practiced, we do not run a unitary system of policing.
“I think the time has come for Nigeria to evolve a system that will appreciate the size of the nation and the diversities. You don’t recruit a graduate we graduated from University of Maiduguri for instance and you post him to Lagos to come and police. He doesn’t know the system and the areas. So, criminals can take advantage of that.
“What I am saying is that the time has come for Nigeria to look at not just a state police, but a local government policing and that is why in the United States, their security is very effective because when you visit any county, the police are aware of those who live there,” Adeyemi said.