Sustaining Tight Security At Nigerian Airports


The manner security operatives always put up a show at  Nigeria’s airports immediately  after any security breach in the country is preposterous.The action gives the impression  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 blow  up a Detroit-bound plane in the United States, security was beefed up at the four  Nigerian international airports in Port Harcourt, Kano, Abuja and Lagos. However, a few  days after the incident, security officers at the nation’s airports relaxed and it was  business as usual.

The same applies to the government. For instance, the full body scanning machines, known  as 3-D machines, meant to be installed at the country’s international airports to prevent  terrorists from boarding planes with hidden devices, are not yet in place in Kano and  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 explosive  devices at the Lagos airport as he was trying to board a plane. Immediately after the  incident, the Lagos Airport Police Command beefed up security, called a press conference  and then, a few days after, it was business as usual. Last Friday, after the bomb blasts  that killed 10 persons and injured over 30, security was again tightened up at the  country’s airports to prevent other bomb blasts and possibly apprehend the masterminds of  the terrorist attacks.

And so, since Monday this week, commuters heading towards the Murtala Muhammed  International airport in Lagos are searched by a combined team of the Airport Police  Command and the Air Force.

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All cars are also stopped and thoroughly searched along the airport road before they are  allowed to proceed to the aerodrome. The officers use anti-bomb detector devices right on  the airport road. In some instances, all the passengers are asked to disembark on the  road to go through body search by the security operatives.

At the main entrance of the terminal building, air travellers and airport users are made  to pass through metal detectors before they could gain access into the building.  Belongings are opened and some intruders are sent back by policemen. Such tight security  must be sustained at the country’s airports. It must not be a one-off thing that precedes  a security breach, especially now that the 2011 general elections are fast approaching.  During election periods, politicians smuggle dangerous weapons and arm thugs to  intimidate or kill their opponents.

This can only be prevented with tight security at our airports, sea ports and land  borders. ‘Post mortem’ actions should be avoided as they do not solve any problem.  Security agencies need to be proactive in these trying times. They should use the Abuja  bomb blasts as a wake up call to beef up and sustain a high level of security all over  the country. It is only when there is peace and stability that elections can be conducted  and sustainable development can be achieved.

Security all over the world is based on intelligence gathering. Nigeria’s security  agencies should not be lagging behind. They should be on top of the game to be a step  ahead of criminals always.

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