Dele Ogbodo in Abuja
The United Nations and the federal government have concluded arrangements to establish two aviation security training schools in Lagos and Abuja.
A statement signed by the Deputy Director, Press of the Ministry of Aviation, Mr. James Odaudu, on behalf of the Minister of State for Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika, said government is determined to turn around the aviation sector to meet global standards in infrastructure, safety and security.
According to the statement, the main objective of the project is to support the nation’s overall counter-terrorism strategy by providing a key element of a robust national aviation security policy that will effectively mitigate the threat posed to civil aviation by terrorist organisations.
Addressing Sirika in his office, the UN-appointed Project Manager for the schools, Douglas Melvin, said the initiative would also enhance the capacity within the UN system to help interested member states to implement its global counter terrorism strategy in an integrated manner.
The statement read: “This involves assisting the partnering member states with their implementation of the strategy across all four topical pillars which address the multiple dimensions of countering terrorism; utilising assistance capacities and efforts from across the UN system.”
Melvin in the statement added that the choice of Nigeria, out of 25 countries considered, was in appreciation of its clear and well-documented roadmap on developing the aviation sector with particular emphasis on safety and security, saying the country stands to reap more benefits than the training of its aviation security personnel by the best available security experts.
“Such other benefits, he said, include the provision of, and exposure to hi-tech aviation security equipment and the generation of revenue from training of aviation security personnel from other countries. “The up-coming United Nations General Assembly is billed to make a proclamation on aAviation security with specific reference to Nigeria. This, according to him, underscores the importance attached to the project as a flagship and high profile one which the country is privileged to be a beneficiary,” Melvin said.
Sirika, while expressing the gratitude of Nigerian Government to the UN for recognising and identifying with the government visions and efforts to establish and nurture a world class aviation industry in Nigeria basically founded on safety and security, assure the UN of government’s readiness to provide all that are necessary for effective take-off and operation of the two institutes to be located in Abuja and Lagos.
The minister, according to the statement, said the decision of government to establish a Ministerial Committee on Airport Security on assumption of office, defined the importance it attached to aviation security as a critical component of the overall national and international security system.
Sirika also described the choice of Nigeria as an aviation security training centre by the UN body as a massive boost to the nation’s desire to become a regional aviation hub and also heighten investor confidence in the country.
He said the project is to be fully funded by the UN and delivered by the United Kingdom Department of Transportation while Nigeria is expected to participate in the provision of training premises and supply of low-cost aviation training equipment among others.