FOLLOWING plans by the Federal government to arm the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Aviation Security, managing director of Centurion Security, Group Captain John Ojikutu has predicted a possible crisis of operational conflicts more among the government security agencies at the airports as all of them carry arms under different command and control.This is just as he called for caution before implementing the new directive, stating that all the government security agencies must be put under one command and control if they must work at the airports to avoid any form of working at cross purposes by extracting AVSEC from FAAN.
In a response via mail to the declaration which was first touted in September 2016 by Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, Ojikutu said the Transportation Security Association (TSA) which Nigeria is trying copy is under homeland security which co ordinates their affairs.
He said,”The issue of FAAN AVSEC carrying arms needs serious evaluation of the operational command and control of the various government security agencies at the nation’s airports. There is already inherent danger in the present setups and increase in the danger with the approval for FAAN AVSEC to carry arms.”
“ This is not what ICAO Annex 17 envisaged for member states to establish a national aviation security committee as against the establishment of national civil aviation security committee which we have established by the National Civil Aviation Act 2006.”
According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), only AVSEC personnel are recognized in civil aviation and in Nigeria there are other security operatives who render auxiliary services at the airport but were not trained in civil aviation security.
Ojikutu said,” With the new directive for FAAN AVSEC, we may beginning to have crisis of operational conflicts more among the government security agencies at the airports; all of them carrying arms under different command and control of: police, military, customs, immigration, DSS, NCDSC, NDLEA and now, FAAN AVSEC.”
“Aviation security is a function of national security. The TSA which we are trying to copy, is under the Department of Homeland and Border Security, not under the Department of Transportation or the FAA in the USA. The TSA, has all the elements of aviation and border security including the police under its command and control at the airports, seaports and land borders. The Department of Homeland and Border Security is the equivalent of our Ministry of internal or Home Affairs.”
Ojikutu also stated that there needs to be a serious security rejig at the nation’s airports for the planned directive to be implemented flawlessly.
“We need to have a quick rethink on this new directive before the implementation by FAAN AVSEC. First, we must put all the government security agencies under one command and control if they must work at the airports; secondly, excise FAAN AVSEC from FAAN and join it with other government security agencies to establish an autonomous agency with its own operational command, under the administrative control of the Ministry of Home Affairs and National Aviation Security Committee and the command of the National Security Council.