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Chief Executive Centurion Securities, Group Captain Ojikutu (rtd)

Aviation Security: Ojikutu calls for coordinated intelligence gathering, sharing

Member of aviation industry think tank group, Aviation Round Table (ART) and Chief Executive of Centurion Securities, Group Captain John Ojikutu (RTD) has said that to evade what transpired at Brussels Airport where terrorists detonated explosives at the airport, there is need to coordinate intelligence and security efforts by gathering and adequately sharing information across board

In an online message sent to Nigerianflightdeck, the former airport commandant emphasized that the lessons from Brussels Airport goes beyond airport security calling for a national aviation security policy which emphasizes the role of intelligence in the gamut.

Ojikutu said,” The lessons from the Brussels terrorists attack is beyond airport security alone. It is more about national aviation security and the role of intelligence in the aviation security defence layers.”

“It is about having names of valuable targets among the home-grown terrorists (BH) listed on watch list or no fly list. Remember, it took us about 8 years before we could start putting faces on those within the domestic terrorist cell before the military started putting those faces and names on the watch list.”

“The question we must be asking the responsible authorities is; are those on the military watch list on the watch list for aviation security or have the list been shared with responsible authorities at d airports on need to know?”

“It is about intelligence or security agencies sharing names on d watch list with airlines and airports operators; it is about the immigration services sharing passengers names records with other countries on principle of reciprocity as it is between done between US and European countries; it is about airlines having a system for advance passengers information services at the departure airport and sharing the information with destination airport. These are intelligence networks.”

He went on,” Secondly, because the airport passenger terminal hall is a public area and therefore a soft target, we now need screening machines at all access gates into d terminal halls with capability for detecting improvised explosive vapour. “

“We must be very concerned now about insider’s threats and must regularly conduct background checks on all staff working in d airport security controlled areas. These intelligence work are not necessarily the job for sniffer dogs’.

“The Close Circuit Television (CCTV) is a good complement to airport security only if it can pre-empt the act of terror attack and not after the attack as it is now playing out in Brussels and had played out in other terror attacks before it in the 9/11, London, Milan and Paris attacks.”

On the recent figures estimated by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) stating that Federal Government would need to invest at least N25 billion to construct perimeter and operational fences across all the 22 government operated airports, he said it may be reasonable if it is spent where applicable and not a means of siphoning funds elsewhere.

The security expert said,”N25billion may just be reasonable for providing perimeter and security fences for the nation’s 22 airports if and only if we seriously identify the difference between the two: ICAO, TSA & IATA lay emphasis on security fence (Annex 17) than perimeter fence (Annex 14).”

“Where it is difficult for a state to enhance the perimeter as security fence, a secondary fence as security fence is advisable. I hope that is the direction of the spending of N25billion and not another form of ‘budget padding. “

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