Despite reported incidents of runway incursions, easy access to airport premises by miscreants and high number of stowaways, THISDAY has gathered that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) might not be able to install security and perimeter fences at any of the airports till 2019.
This is because the cost of the projects would be captured in the 2019 budget while construction would start in 2020.
A source in the agency disclosed this to THISDAY and explained that the agency was under pressure to contain access to the airports by bandits and the herding of cattle on airport runways.
Cows a fortnight ago accessed Akure airport runway, which caused Air Peace aircraft to delay landing for about 20 minutes.
Also, thieves allegedly opened up cargo hold of aircraft at the runways of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos and there have been access of the airport premises by host communities at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
All these have indicated that the nation’s airports are porous.
Member of aviation industry think tank group, Aviation Round Table (ART) and Chief Executive Officer of Centurion Securities Group Captain John Ojikutu (retd) said that if the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had put security fences across airports in the country, there wouldn’t be the incursion of the runways by cows.
“The NCAA and FAAN should be blamed for the absence of security fences across our airports. There are certain things we must have in place before we certify to operate the airport. If NCAA approved the airports to be operating without perimeter fences, the airline should know that.
“This information should be in the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP). The pilot must read it before he departs. The operators too should be blamed because if they are going to Akure, they should take precaution on landing,” Ojikutu added.
However, General Manager, Corporate Affairs of FAAN, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu said the issue of security across the airport remained a great concern to the organisation.
Yakubu said the incident at Akure is being addressed by concerned authorities, stressing that the airport had perimeter fence but there was a gap in which the cattle entered through to the runway.
According to Yakubu, FAAN civil engineers were already at the Akure airport to fix the collapsed section of the fence.
As part of measures to further strengthen the security of the airports across the country, she said FAAN had stopped the renewal of On Duty Cards (ODCs) for former airline and FAAN workers to ensure strict personnel monitoring.
She added that the cards renewal would be thoroughly scrutinised by the agency before they were issued.
With reports from Thisday