NIGERIA: Terrorism: Why FG Should Urgently Secure Aviation Sector

The country’s aviation sector is presently in a state of apprehension obviously due to the growing power of terrorists/bandits across the country.

With particular focus on the recent attack launched on Kaduna airport leading to the death of a security man and disruption of flight operations, there is fire on the mountain.

The recent Kaduna attack by the undesirable elements though was not the first of its kind, but their audacity to even attempt to seize an aircraft according to the news gathered was a dangerous attempt that required urgent attention from the security agencies across board.

Without doubt, the terrorists have continued to gather momentum and up their evil games as witnessed in their recent bombing of an Abuja/Kaduna bound train.

In other words, they have now gone ballistic and for such a deadly group, no one should underrate their evil purpose.

Obviously for a group that could dare bomb a train, it may not be out of place to expect that they may likely have surface to air rocket/missiles in readiness to unleash havoc on aviation.

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Since the Kaduna airport attack and the train bombing, the aviation sector particularly air travelers have been enveloped in uncertainty over safety and security of flight operations.

Many questions are on the lips of stakeholders as regards the future of air safety and airport security as the terrorists’ activities increase on the road, rail and airports unabated.

Before the onslaught, the time has come for the government to make emergency funding available to the aviation authorities to construct fences round the airports and increase security presence around them.

Besides fencing the airports, it may not be out of place for the National Aviation Security Committee to start considering the use of Air Marshal onboard all Nigerian registered aircraft particularly the commercial airplanes as it is been practiced in other climes.

Air Marshal is a federal law enforcement officer who is responsible for protecting passengers and crewmembers from criminal and terrorist attacks onboard civil aircraft. Federal Air Marshals also perform investigative work and assignments with a number of investigative task forces and law enforcement agencies.

The need to consider the presence of Air Marshals onboard flights becomes imperative to prevent a situation where terrorists will join genuine passengers to board a flight only to hijack it and start demanding for ransom or risk passengers’ lives.

Since the September 11, 2001deadliest terrorist attack in the United States when four commercial airliners were hijacked by members of the Islamic extremist group, al Qaeda, no American Airline operates even to Nigeria without an Air Marshal on board their flights.

Apart from fencing the airports and introducing Air Marshals on board flights, there is an urgent need for the aviation authorities to carry out background data checks on all airline and airport workers including even law enforcement agents and their paramilitary colleagues working in sensitive areas of the airport to ensure none of them is sympathetic to the cause of the terrorists.

Equally, each airline and other airport workers should take care of their workers to avoid them being induced by the undesirable elements to carry out their evil mission.

Above all, there should be a proper screening of anyone coming into any of the airports while security gadgets like the CCTV camera be positioned around the airports to capture all activities.

At this juncture, the government and its security agencies should not leave any stone unturned in doing everything possible to frustrate any plan by the terrorists to carry out any deadly attacks on aircraft, airports and airport users.

For after the Kaduna airport attack and the rail bombing, it will be suicidal if Nigeria is still caught napping.


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