The federal government has fulfilled the promise it made about two years ago that the Aviation Security (AVSEC) personnel of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) would now bear arms.
In 2016, the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, said due to terror threats and general insecurity that may cause breaches at the airport environment, AVSEC would be trained to bear arms.
Announcing the approval of the policy yesterday in Katsina, capital of Katsina State, Sirika said AVSEC personnel would soon be licensed to bear arms after they have gone through the necessary training in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) recommended practices.
The minister said this was necessary in order to complement the efforts of other security operatives at the airports.
Sirika who made this known at the 2018 AVSEC retreat, said it would further strengthen the integrity of the airports in view of the growing threats to the aviation industry.
â€œThe federal government approval for AVSEC to bear arms which is a notable achievement in this administrationâ€™s effort at improving the general safety of its citizenry and passengers passing through our airports.â€
According to the minister who was represented by the Rector, the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) Zaria, Capt Mohammed Abdulsalami, said arming AVSEC would ensure proper policing of the sector by AVSEC personnel, saying it was part of efforts by the President Buhari administration to fortify security at the airports.
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 to meet up with the initiative of the Ease of Doing Business policy.
Sirika said most countries have shown keen interest in the countryâ€™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 country.
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 would in turn train others.
Sirika disclosed that the certification of FAAN training centre by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority could not over emphasised as it would 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 would 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.
The FAAN boss explained that the agency successfully recruited and trained over 230 AVSEC officers, adding that the management and the Minister was poised to equip the AVSEC directorate to enable them discharge their responsibility effectively and efficiently.