President Muhammadu Buhari has approved airport security personnel to carry arms and ammunition in order to boost up security at the nation’s airports.
Minister of State (Aviation) Senator Hadi Sirika made this known yesterday while speaking to the press at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, alongside the Minister of Interior, Abduraman Dambazzua and the Special Adviser to President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina.
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Sirika said the federal government is very serious about airport security and the President approved the decision fashioned just like Transportation Security Administration, TSA of the United States, where K-9 dogs, handcuffs, batons and light weapons are deployed.
The Minister said that the Ministry of Interior would be partnering with the aviation sector for the protection of the airports.
In his words; “The Minister of Interior is helping us in that regard with the directive of the President. They are partnering us to keep our airports secure. All these will be unveiled at the next stakeholders meeting.”
Sirika did not, however, state when it will kick off, saying that a stakeholders’ meeting was underway to consider all factors, including the time-frame for the Abuja airport maintenance.
He stressed the Federal Government’s commitment on the planned closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja for six weeks for turn-around maintenance.
Sirika ruled out the possibility of VIPs landing in Abuja during the six weeks closure, because the airport will be totally closed for six weeks, but the construction and rehabilitation work will be for six months.
The minister disclosed that FEC approved N1.1 billion for the completion of Kaduna airport terminal rehabilitation ahead of the planned closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja.
Sirika, who said the terminal building would be completed within six months, noted that the contract was awarded in 2011 and commenced in 2012.
The minister also spoke of plans to install in the major airports landing systems that are suitable in bad weather, “except if it is terribly bad”.
He further revealed that government approved N4.6 billion for the procurement of fire fighting equipment for Federal Fire Service across the country at the FEC.
On the national carrier, Sirikia also stated that before the end of this year, there would be a national air carrier that would be private-sector driven.