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FG finally arms aviation security, deploys 120 special forces to 5 intl airports

After years of contemplation, the Federal Government has finally provided arms for aviation security personnel. This is part of the move to strengthen security at…

After years of contemplation, the Federal Government has finally provided arms for aviation security personnel.

This is part of the move to strengthen security at the airports against the backdrop of rising cases of vandalism and theft especially at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.

The Managing Director/ Chief Executive of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mrs. Olubunmi Kuku, commissioned 120 officers of the Aviation Security ( AVSEC) Special Force that have been trained to bear arms.

The commissioning was done at the international wing of the Murtala Mohammed Airport Lagos while others would be deployed to major airports like Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu.

The MD said, “This is for them to help us in terms of securing our assets, in terms of helping to secure lives, as well as the people within the aviation environment specifically at the airports. So again, as I mentioned, it’s remarkable for us, we’re happy that we spent a significant amount of time in terms of training them, in terms of identifying the sorts of individuals that are part of this squad.

“They’re quite professional, as you can see, and they will continue to engage as well as work closely with other security agencies.”

Mrs Kuku allayed any fears of the security team deploying their arms for use as excessive force in the course of their duty, even as she advised passengers and airport users to go about their businesses in an orderly manner.

She said, “The arms they carry today show that they are now an elite squad that will complement the aviation security staff that we have.”

“What is critical is that we want to make sure that we can deter people. We hope that we do not have to use force. In the event that they need to, they will coordinate with all of the other security agencies. The focus is to make sure that they are helping us in terms of executing all of our desires, specifically around making sure that there are no illegal activities that go on.”

Kuku disclosed that the deployment is starting with five international airports including Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano and Enugu.

“We are starting with the five international airports. That’s Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano, and Enugu. There is a similar exercise going on. We do have about 120 people who have been trained. It is a recurring training program. In Lagos, I believe we have about 30 of them.

“As mentioned, the special squad role will be to critically work with all of the other security agencies. This is very important. And I say it’s a significant milestone. You can see them, they are gallant, they are kitted, they’re ready to protect, and they’re ready to serve.”

She added that the authority is collaborating with other security agencies across the airports.

“I know that the leaders of every single one of those started meeting with them. I was with the Chief of Air Staff last week in Abuja, and he’s working very closely with us.”

Speaking on the next phase, Mrs. Kuku said “the next phase for us is the coordination. So you see that we started a number of campaigns over the weekend, largely around making sure that we say no to corruption at our airports. They’re here, as I said, to make sure that we deter.”

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