Following Friday’s invasion of Airport quarters in Kaduna where about 11 people were kidnapped, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), has said it will not shut down the Kaduna International Airport.
This is just as the authority has beefed up security around airports nationwide to stave off any security threat.
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The Managing Director of FAAN, Capt. Rabiu Yadudu, spoke when the Senate Committee on Aviation visited the Agency.
Daily Trust reports that two houses were attacked when gunmen broke into the quarters near the Kaduna Airport, where 11 people including the entire family of a staff of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) were abducted.
The Managing Director of NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, confirmed that the whereabouts of the abducted staff were unknown as of Saturday night.
The FAAN MD, who spoke during the committee’s visit, regretted the attack on its staff quarters, but noted that FAAN is working with various security agencies to strengthen security of lives and equipment at airports across the country.
He said: “This incident is entirely different from closing down the airport. It’s a security concern that we have at our staff quarters.
“A lot of our staff do not even live in this quarters. If there is a need for us to close, we will close it, but this is even far away from it.
“There is no need for that drastic action. Just small percentage of our staff stay in the staff quarters; the rest are all living in the town.
“You can see that the staff quarters is fenced. We are taking appropriate measures, but like I said, we just have to improve to counter these challenges.
“The fence was broken, there are security measures. We have security personnel attending to the area, but somehow, somewhere, things happened and now it is time for us to counter as we have been doing always.
“Security is a race. Security challenges will always come and we will improve and on our own part, we keep improving to outsmart them.
“Anytime there is a breach of the security architecture, we will still do the same thing. Our staff can attest to this, the state government can attest to this and even the security agencies can tell you this.”
The FAAN MD said security has been beefed up at all airports since last year, assuring that the authority would continue to improve to counter any emerging threat.
He said, “We have already beefed up security since last year. It is not something new now. It is already beefed up. We have our own means of communications and countering these challenges.
“A lot has been averted, which we have been doing quietly. It is not something you know and right now, there are some investigations ongoing. I don’t think there is a need for us to go into details.
“But, what I can tell you is that throughout past years, we have been doing a lot and that is why may be you see small percentage of incidences or occurrences of this magnitude and now that it has happened, it is very unfortunate.
“Our hearts go to our staff and those that work with us, but like I said, we guarantee you that we will rise to the occasion.
“It is not just FAAN, the security agencies, the state government and even our personnel, they cooperate fully with us on this.”
The NAMA on his part called on the Senate to assist the agency in providing more funding to enhance security of personnel and critical safety facilities.
He said that 24 hours after the abduction, the whereabouts of the abductees were unknown.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Sen. Smart Adeyemi, called for new security strategies to tackle the increasing security challenges in the country.
He said, “There is a need for us to evolve a new security architecture for Nigeria. Our population has increased and we are still faced with porous borders. Nigeria is not a clear cut Federal system.
“I don’t know how to describe this country; federal system or unitary system, but I do know that Nigeria is said to be a federation and all nations where federalism is practiced, we do not run a unitary system of policing.
“I think the time has come for Nigeria to evolve a system that will appreciate the size of the nation and the diversities.
“You don’t recruit a graduate we graduated from University of Maiduguri for instance and you post him to Lagos to come and police.
“He doesn’t know the system and the areas. So, criminals can take advantage of that.
“What I am saying in essence is that the time has come for Nigeria to look at not just a state police, but a local government policing and that is why in the US, their security is very effective because when you visit any county, the police are aware of those who live there.”