Kasim Sumaina in Abuja
Thirty-five (35) Nigerian aviation security Master Trainers, on Friday, graduated from the United Nations Counter-terrorism Centre (UNCCT) security project designed to respond to the current security environment and supports strengthening of the aviation sector in Nigeria and its border region.
Initiated in July 2016, the capacity-building project was implemented by the United Nations Counter-terrorism Centre in partnership with the government of Nigeria and co-funded by the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The graduates will train aviation security experts in two training centres, which will be established in Lagos and in Zaria, Nigeria.
Addressing the graduands through a televised network from the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTIFF) office, the Director, Counter-terrorism Centre (UNCCT), Dr. Jehangir Khan, noted that, the Aviation Security project was aligned with the priorities of the UN global counter-terrorism strategy and he was honoured to celebrate the conclusion of a “first of its kind” Aviation Security Training, implemented by UNCCT.
According to him, “The selection of Nigeria as the first country to receive this type of project, reflects highly upon the importance of Nigeria in both the global aviation security sector and overall counter-terrorism efforts of Member States.”
Khan, explained that, Nigeria was a long standing partner in the United Nations counter-terrorism work, including as a valued member of the UNCCT Advisory Board, and as one of the early partners in the Integrated Assistance for Counter-Terrorism (I-ACT), which brings the UN family together to provide ‘All-of-UN’ capacity building on counter-terrorism and the prevention of violent extremism.
“These engagements are a testament to the seriousness with which the Nigerian authorities are addressing terrorism and violent extremism. By demonstrating success, this project will serve as a model as event have taught us that terrorists organisation and groups are constantly updating their methods and tactics.”
He said: “International support has brought together the best aviation security and counter-terrorism experts worldwide to develop this new “Center of Excellence” in Nigeria.
“This project, will ehance a more efficient security screening process, in accordance with the international standards required by the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) and the European Union.”
Khan, however, congratulated the graduands saying, “What you have accomplished is truly remarkable. Given the training you have received and the role you will play in the future, it is not an understatement to say that: ‘The fate of aviation security in Nigeria now rest in your hands.’
“I hope and expect that you will rise to meet the challenges, continue to strive for excellence, instill in others, the passion to protect the aviation sector through Nigeria. I hope you will join me with an optimistic view on the future and one that says, ‘ bad things will not happen on my watch.”
Responding, Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, said, â€œI do believe that the UN action by selecting Nigeria as the first country to benefit from this project has put more good burden on us as the first to be trained and that, leave us with no excuse as we set to train others.
According to him, “aviation security is very important for us and we must take it seriously. I think worries me that, despite the dedication to duty by our aviation security personnel, they are ill-equipped to do the work.
“I think, we have to make vast resolutions, the one that allows for re-organisation of the security to be fully ready, alert and be able to do the work. We will look on how to change and make them arm bearing wing of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), though, not so soon but in the nearest future.”
“I congratulate you for your feat. This is just the beginning of your journey. This is a good burden on our neck and there is no excuse,” says Sirika.