The Federal Government has restated its commitment to a plan that will see airport security personnel begin to bear arms.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, says aviation security personnel of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), will soon be licensed to carry arms at airports across the country in other to complement other relevant agencies.
Sirika, who made this known in Katsina on Monday at the 2018 AVSEC retreat, said discussion was at its final stage for approval, saying it will further strengthen the integrity of the airports in view of the growing threats to the aviation industry.
“The federal government approved for 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,” he said.
The announcement was first made in 2016 and was repeated last year, but is yet to be implemented.
The minister who was represented by the Rector of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, Mohammed Abdulsalami, said arming AVSEC will ensure proper policing of the airports by AVSEC personnel.
He said rebranding of AVSEC was important in the building brand identity and creating a recognisable corporate identity for officers with the aim of making them much more professional and customer- friendly in order to meet up with the Ease of Doing Business initiative.
Sirika said most countries have shown keen interest in the country’s growing and expanding aviation industry, stressing that aviation security was seen as a pivotal tool to sustaining safety in all the airports which remained a model to the integrity of the nation.
The minister noted that the United Nations’ decision to establish two aviation security training colleges in the country was another notable achievement of the present administration.
According to him, this was aimed at assisting not only in the war against terrorism, but to provide a special class of professionally trained AVSEC unit through the training of 30 selected aviation security master trainers who will in turn train others.
The minister said the certification of FAAN training centre by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority was apt as it will further strengthen and boost the capacity and technical know-how of aviation security personnel in the country.
In his good will message, the Managing Director of FAAN, Saleh Dunoma, said FAAN was investing in aviation to create enabling environment that will encourage efficiency in tackling emerging security threats to civil aviation.
Dunoma explained that FAAN recently procured 10 additional patrol vehicles to boost the current fleet of vehicles for effective coverage and patrol while additional screening machines were being procured and old ones being replaced.
He explained that the agency successfully recruited and trained over 230 AVSEC officers. He said the management and the minister were poised to equip the AVSEC directorate to enable them discharge their responsibility effectively and efficiently.
He called for total commitment, determination and cooperation by all to achieve the desired objectives for FAAN, aviation industry and the entire nation.
He urged them to put their best and respond to all emerging threats in timely manner while constantly reviewing and upgrading their system holistically.
The director of security services at FAAN, Usman Sadiq, noted that the industry was at a critical juncture in global aviation where terrorism was assuming a new dimension. He said aviation security remained pivotal in the actualisation of a safe and secure aviation industry in the war against terrorism.
Sadiq said securing the airport with CCTV and detecting equipment will enhance the function of AVSEC.
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