Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, yesterday in Abuja, disclosed that the recent survey by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) showed that Nigeria achieved over 96 per cent improvement in aviation security.
Speaking with reporters in the State House after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, Sirika said the feat was the fallout of a series of screening and checks by ICAO.
He said consequently, he presented to the president the certificate of improved security issued to Nigeria by ICAO.
“Today Nigeria has shifted from where it was in aviation security because we have scored 96.4 percent. I have just seen the president and delivered to him something that we are very proud of as Nigerians – a certificate for improved security in civil aviation.
“Civil aviation is about safety and security, how very safe and secure you depart a point and land at the other point. At the time, the current president took over, we were very marginally scored in terms of security and safety.
Sirika also explained that the country was able to attain the feat because it developed a security template and engaged experts on aviation security.
He also said a home-based security expert was deliberately engaged and trained, adding that the move culminated in this positive output.
“We developed a template for security, engaged experts, came for approval from the President and he graciously approved that we reorganise the system to make it better.
“We included the appointment of key individuals including the head of aviation security in the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) where we found a seasoned Group Captain who was a security expert himself and got him trained on aviation security and deployed him as head of security.
“Among other things, we put things in place to deal specially with insider security and that got us somewhere on the world map of aviation security,” he added.
According to Sirika, Nigeria was certified along with 15 other countries, after a world-wide survey of 193 countries on aviation security by ICAO.
He also said 721 aviation security personnel had been profiled and trained by the State Security Service on how to handle guns adding that more would be deployed to enhance security at the country’s airports.
The minister also said the feat was a product of intensive preparation and hard work which lasted for over three years.
“ICAO which is the having the statutory responsibility of monitoring, policing or regulating the world of aviation and setting standards, took a survey of 193 member countries of ICAO form among which 16 were found to have improved security in their aviation system tremendously and gladly, Nigeria was one of those 16 countries.
“Our score from the audit of ICAO was 96.4 percent, a remarkable improvement from a country that was scoring less than 50 percent in the past. Today, form the approvals we got form our President, his guidance and counselling, we have been able to raise that to 96 percent, which is near perfect and in recognition of that, the country Nigeria received a certificate in Montreal Canada during the General Assembly of ICAO and we are proud to announce that.” he said.
“It wasn’t overnight that we scored 96 percent it took over three years of hard work to achieve it and we will continue to do so,” he pledged.