Dele Ogbodo in Abuja
The President in Council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Mr. Bernard Olumuyiwa Aliyu, has said the body is strategising with the Ministers of Aviation of Nigeria, Cameroun, Niger, Somali, Egypt and countries within the continent to stem any terrorist attack on their airports.
One of the strategies, Aliyu said, would be the adoption of biometric passport or the e-passport to monitor closely the movement of passengers within and outside the region.
He admitted that ICAO had been having very close relationship with the Ministers of Aviation on aviation security challenges in Mali, Somali, Egypt and Nigeria, adding that aviation security was a very sensitive issue which ICAO cannot put in public domain.
The ICAO boss, who is seeking re-election bid for a second term, made the disclosure at a get-together dinner organised Sunday night in Abuja for him by the Minister of State for Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika.
He stated that ICAO was working hard to make the airports safe across Africa, adding that “bombing at airports is one of the critical issues that we are discussing at the moment,” as he said ICAO and Nigeria would have to collaborate very closely on the matter.
He said: “Few months ago, I sent ICAO team to Nigeria and the neighbouring countries of Chad, Niger and Cameroun to do an assessment, and arising from that, we will strategies on new measures that we are going to implement.
“As I leave Nigeria, I will be going for aviation security and facilitation on Africa where they will all gather together at a meeting with ICAO and the African Civil Aviation Commission (ACAC) to chart the way forward.
“We shall raise the level of aviation security on the continent as well as the issues of facilitation and biometrics passport which we call the e-passport in order to monitor closely the movement of people and passengers in the region.”
Aliyu alleged that corruption had impacted on the national economy and retarded the growth of the civil aviation, adding however that there was light at the end of the tunnel because of the present posture of President Muhammadu Buhari and his current fight against corruption.
“I’m hopeful for our country because of the posture and the determination of Buhari regarding his fight against corruption. This is the bane of our society that has impacted all aspects of the national economy including the civil aviation.
“I’m very hopeful now with the determination of the minister and the support that he is receiving from government, when he visited me in Montreal, Canada, I told him that we cannot afford to miss this opportunity.
“With me being at ICAO and he being the minister for aviation, we will put ICAO resources at the disposal of Nigeria in all its efforts to move the sector forward.”
In his remark, Sirika, said government is committed to making sure that Aliu is re-elected as president of the council before the end of the year based on his experience and achievements that he has recorded in his first term.
He said: “We began his campaign for a second term and it was huge success and welcomed by every country and nation so far. When I spoke to the delegates of the United States and Canada about the representation of Aliu they told me that you cannot do any better.”