6th October, 2010
The manner security operatives always put up a show atÂ Nigeriaâ€™s airports immediatelyÂ after any security breach in the country is preposterous.The action gives the impressionÂ that security is not taken seriously by those who are paid and empowered to protect us.
For instance, on 26 December last year a day after a Nigerian allegedly attempted to blowÂ up a Detroit-bound plane in the United States, security was beefed up at the fourÂ Nigerian international airports in Port Harcourt, Kano, Abuja and Lagos. However, a fewÂ days after the incident, security officers at the nationâ€™s airports relaxed and it wasÂ business as usual.
The same applies to the government. For instance, the full body scanning machines, knownÂ as 3-D machines, meant to be installed at the countryâ€™s international airports to preventÂ terrorists from boarding planes with hidden devices, are not yet in place in Kano andÂ Port Harcourt airports, almost a year after the Christmas day incident in America.
A similar action was taken a few years ago when a passenger was caught with explosiveÂ devices at the Lagos airport as he was trying to board a plane. Immediately after theÂ incident, the Lagos Airport Police Command beefed up security, called a press conferenceÂ and then, a few days after, it was business as usual. Last Friday, after the bomb blastsÂ that killed 10 persons and injured over 30, security was again tightened up at theÂ countryâ€™s airports to prevent other bomb blasts and possibly apprehend the masterminds ofÂ the terrorist attacks.
And so, since Monday this week, commuters heading towards the Murtala MuhammedÂ International airport in Lagos are searched by a combined team of the Airport PoliceÂ Command and the Air Force.
All cars are also stopped and thoroughly searched along the airport road before they areÂ allowed to proceed to the aerodrome. The officers use anti-bomb detector devices right onÂ the airport road. In some instances, all the passengers are asked to disembark on theÂ road to go through body search by the security operatives.
At the main entrance of the terminal building, air travellers and airport users are madeÂ to pass through metal detectors before they could gain access into the building.Â Belongings are opened and some intruders are sent back by policemen. Such tight securityÂ must be sustained at the countryâ€™s airports. It must not be a one-off thing that precedesÂ a security breach, especially now that the 2011 general elections are fast approaching.Â During election periods, politicians smuggle dangerous weapons and arm thugs toÂ intimidate or kill their opponents.
This can only be prevented with tight security at our airports, sea ports and landÂ borders. â€˜Post mortemâ€™ actions should be avoided as they do not solve any problem.Â Security agencies need to be proactive in these trying times. They should use the AbujaÂ bomb blasts as a wake up call to beef up and sustain a high level of security all overÂ the country. It is only when there is peace and stability that elections can be conductedÂ and sustainable development can be achieved.
Security all over the world is based on intelligence gathering. Nigeriaâ€™s securityÂ agencies should not be lagging behind. They should be on top of the game to be a stepÂ ahead of criminals always.