From Suleiman Idris, Lagos
The decision to suspend four security personnel indefinitely pending the outcome of investigation into a security breach at the Lagos airport on Friday and acceptance of responsibility as a leader has earned accolades for the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Captain Rabiu Hamisu Yadudu.
The country’s airports management agency axed the Aviation Security unit heads that were on duty when the incident occurred, pending what it termed completion of ongoing investigation into the regrettable security infringement.
The affected officers include the Airport Chief of Security, Mamman Mohammed Sadiku, International Terminal Security Officer, Oni Adedamola Abiodun, Head of Department Domestic Terminal 2, Owotor Kenneth Okezie and Head of Department Domestic Terminal 1, Badejo Adebowale Ayodele.
Capt. Yadudu on Saturday in Kano disclosed the identity of the stowaway who escaped security eyes at the domestic wing of the Murtala Muhammad Airport in Lagos and thereafter climbed the wing of a domestic operating airline, Azman Airline aircraft as Nigerien-born Usman Adamu.
Stakeholders in the aviation industry took to the social media platforms to convey commendation for the MD decision to accept responsibility and promptly swing into action to forestall a repeat of such negligence.
Those who commented on various Watsapp group platform monitored by our reporters described the decision as timely and decisive.
On a scale of A, B and C, 59% of respondents scored the action of the FAAN MD, who was making his first decision over any incident in his capacity as the Chief Executive Officer of the agency a straight B, 10% awarded a B+ with a further 28% putting it at A just as 3% claimed the decision deserves an A+.
They were however unanimous that a lot still need to be done to safeguard the country’s airports against such intrusion.
Whilst he explained that FAAN had launched a thorough investigation into the incident which had led to the suspension of four staff, Yadudu noted that “With regards to the identified suspect, investigation is ongoing to ascertain his intent, be it criminal or not and his mental/psychological state.
He did assured travellers and airport users that new measures are already being put in place to enhance security at the nation’s airports.
The FAAN MD stated that the authority takes full responsibility for the breach while affirming that the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Transport and elsewhere Minister of State, Aviation Senator Hadi Sirika had already assisted in the award of contracts for perimeter fences at the airports, including detection devices and CCTV cameras with infrared capacity for night operations.
He added that plans are also underway to erect observation towers this year, so as to enable proper monitor and coverage of the airport.
Capt Yadudu noted that already, FAAN has a security patrol/escort team in place for arriving and departing aircraft but another joint patrol team involving FAAN AVSEC, the Police and the Military has also been constituted to assist in protecting the sanctity of our airside and ensuring the security of live operations and the travelling public using our facilities.
He also admitted that globally, new threats are springing up daily and the criminal elements are fashioning out ways to circumvent security architectures but added that it was up to FAAN to continuously improve on security and put adequate measures in place to mitigate the threats.
Also, he noted that FAAN will continue to work with relevant stakeholders and the regulatory agencies towards ensuring safe operations at our airports.
He said “The suspect, identified as Usman Adamu suspected of Nigerien origin, and who claimed to be residing at No 1 Araromi Street , Iyana Ipaja on the 19th July, 2019 was reported to have appeared at the domestic end of the taxi way and attempted to gain access to the aircraft, while it was taxing to the holding point.
“The pilot alerted the Air traffic control and the message was intercepted by the Aviation Security control monitoring centre who mobilized the patrol teams to the incident.
“He was apprehended, detained and is currently with the Airport Police Command, as our investigation progresses.
“The FAAN authority considers this incident a serious security breach and an Airside incursion.
“This is unfortunate and most embarrassing bearing in mind the huge effort and resources dedicated to the maintenance of the integrity of Airside and Airport safety.
“We do understand that the security wheel is ever revolving with new and emerging threats daily and we have been working with all our stakeholders and the regulatory agency (NCAA) in addressing our living security challenges.
“The patrol security team arrested the same suspect on the night of Sunday the 14th of July 2019 within the Airport premises.
“His profile pictures were taken and he was subsequently evacuated out of the Airport to a very far location in accordance with our standard procedure. We are now reviewing this procedure in the light of this incident.
“At the conclusion of this investigation, all officers who are found negligent in the discharge of their assigned duties shall be held fully accountable.” He told journalists in Kano.