Nigeria has beefed up security at major international airports across the country following a recent scare involving a domestic airliner.
According to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), security has been tightened at the four operational international airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt with the introduction of sniffer dogs and anti-terrorism squads in order to enhance safety and security.
The local media Friday quoted a statement by FAAN spokesman Yakubu Dati as saying the measure would be extended to the other airports in the country later.
”A comprehensive audit of security and surveillance has been conducted on aircraft, terminals and security personnel to align them to standards in the industry.
”The airport security personnel have been trained in crowd control, body search and other specialised areas, while undercover surveillance is conducted by plain clothes crack team,” the spokesman said.
He said at present, all Nigerian airports had security equipment, including hand-held metal detectors, closed circuit television cameras, x-ray screening machines and 3D scanning machines.
Dati also said there is a 24-hour security patrol on the air side by the aviation security personnel and the presence of Police Bomb Disposal Units in the terminals.
Last Tuesday, passengers and crew aboard an Arik Air plane flying from the northern city of Maiduguru to the capital city of Abuja were scared when a passenger behaving in a strange manner stood up and screamed Allahu Akbar (God is great) midair.
”Nothing incriminating; no explosives or weapons whatsoever were found on him. However, midair, the passenger began to act strangely, loudly screaming, ‘God is great.’ Fellow passengers, alarmed by his behaviour rushed to apprehend him.
”A thorough search by fellow passengers and crew members revealed nothing dangerous on him. The pilot immediately radioed Air Traffic Control and airport security operatives.
”The plane landed safely at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at exactly 12.53hrs and the suspect was handed over to the SSS (State Security Service) at about 14.45hrs. He is currently being interrogated,” the Ministry of Aviation said in a statement on the incident.