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Stakeholders okay firearms for aviation security


Murtala Muhammed International Airport

The Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI) has rallied behind the Federal Government’s plan to arm Aviation Security (AVSEC) officials at airports nationwide.

ASRTI, a think-tank group of the air travel industry, said the move would enhance the National Civil Aviation Security Programme (NCASP).

It would be recalled that the Federal Government in 2017 approved firearms for AVSEC. The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said his ministry would partner with the Ministry of Interior and other stakeholders in the training of the affected Aviation Security personnel in arms’ handling. Among the arms are K-9 dogs, handcuffs, batons and light weapons, among others.

Public Relations Officer of ASRTI, Olumide Ohunayo, said the primary objective of AVSEC is the protection and safety of passengers, crew, ground personnel, aircraft and facilities serving civil aviation against act of unlawful interference in sterile areas of airport, therefore, the participation of other security agencies are inevitable in the airport security network.

“Consequent to this approval, we strongly advise a review of the airport security architecture to cover elements of the various security agencies, which will now form the new organogram,” Ohunayo said.

He added that the structure would eliminate inter-agency rivalry, foster cooperation, provide common platform to assess measure of effectiveness, process operational effectiveness and after action plans.

“Please note that they administratively remain under their parent agencies but under the operational command and control of the new Airport Security Architecture.

“ASRTI as a body will advise that the selected men, to bear arms, should be properly trained and tested in rudiment areas of arms handling and standard and trained armourer for safe keeping of ammunitions, while necessary procedure for issuance, retrieval and accountability of expended rounds if necessary be put in place.

“In the 90s, we delegated and rotated the heads of security agencies serving in the airports to supervise and control night operations which is akin to the United States TSA model.

“Security threats have evolved and we as a nation are challenged to find the nexus and best security architecture as our security challenges cannot be the same with other nations. Therefore, we cannot lift models hook line and sinker.”

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