HOUSE of Representatives is spearheading an initiative that will usher in a single security screening point for arriving and departing passengers at the international airports in Nigeria.
This initiative, a major reform in support of the Federal Government’s Ease of Doing Business, (EODB) followed the outcome of the meeting with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Right Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, committee heads including Aviation, Health and Agric Services as well as the leaderships of agencies operating at the airports and the Special Adviser to the President on the Ease of Doing Business, Dr. Jumoke Oduwole.
At the the end of the interaction, the Speaker based on the contributions from the stakeholders on how to achieve international best practices, urged the Chairman of the Committee on Aviation, Honourable Nnolim Nnaji and other relevant Committees’ Chairmen to work with the heads of the aviation agencies to come up within two weeks a Bill that would ensure a single security outfit similar to Transport Security Administration, ( TSA) in United States of America that would take charge of security at the airports.
He also said that the menace of touting and extortion at the airports must be tackled squarely with a more stringent measures adding that the problems remained unabated because there were no severe consequences.
The Speaker stressed that traveling through the airports must be made as seamless as possible noting that the level of stress and discomfort travelers go through at the nation’s prime gateways must be eliminated.
“Our airports must give travelers the comfort they deserve, the facilities must work” he added noting that situation must change forthwith.
The Chairman of the Committee on Aviation Honourable Nnolim Nnaji had also noted that Federal Government’s intervention was needed urgently to help FAAN fix the aging infrastructure at the various airports especially Lagos and Abuja which are the major gateways.
Honourable Nnaji’s appeal was sequel to an earlier explanation by the FAAN Managing Director, Captain Rabiu Yadudu that the Murtala Mohammed International Airport which is over 43 years old required total overhaul because all the facilities had been overstretched beyond their life span. He also disclosed that the airport generates 70 percent of the authority’s total annual revenue.
Also in her comments, the Special Adviser to the President on the Ease of Doing Business, Dr Jumoke Oduwole expressed appreciation to the leadership of the House of Representatives and the Aviation Committee Chairman Nnolim Nnaji for the initiative adding that the situations at the nation’s prime gateways remained a huge embarrassment to the country.
She shared the views of Honourable Nnaji that the kind of image some of the officials at the airports present of the nation could not in anyway promote the philosophy behind the Ease of Doing Business stressing that such was capable of scaring foreign investors.
The Speaker had directed the Chairman, Housing of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Honourable Nnolim Nnaji to invite the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN) Captain Rabiu Yadudu, the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu and the leaderships of all the agencies involved in facilitation of passengers and goods at the airports including the Special Assistant to the President on Ease of Doing Business, Dr Jumoke Oduwole to discuss the issues of touting and extortion at the airports.
Right Honourable Gbajabiamila who expressed his displeasure at what he described as viral videos circulating on social media about the ugly scenes at Nigeria’s International Airports said he had to ask Honourable Nnolim Nnaji to call for the meeting to see how such national embarrassment could be arrested forthwith.
The agencies invited for the meeting were, the Nigeria Police, the Nigerian Immigration Services, (NIS), the Nigeria Customs, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDKEA) Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control, (NCDC), the Port Health, the Plant Quarantine Services among others.
Some of the major agencies, the police, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA) and the Customs Service however did not attend the meeting which was held on Wednesday at the House Conference Room 028 in the afternoon.
The speaker who was not happy with the absence of those agencies however declared that their absence would not slow down the process of changing the ugly situation at the airports.
The Aviation Committee Chairman, Honourable Nnaji on behalf of all other chairmen and members present at the meting thanked the Speaker for his patriotic zeal and timely intervention on any issues that have to do with the progress of the country stressing that such have remained the driving force on all the chairmen and members of the 9th Assembly.