As part of efforts to improve security at the nation’s airports, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria has commenced the review of the renewal of On Duty Cards for airport workers.
The ODC is a pass issued to business owners, airline staff and others who work at the airports to grant them access to certain areas of the airports and is renewable annually.
FAAN’s General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, told our correspondent in an interview that the review was part of measures to strengthen security at airports across the country by ensuring strict personnel monitoring.
Yakubu noted that the renewal of the cards would henceforth be thoroughly scrutinised by the agency.
She added, “We’re reviewing the issuance of the ODCs because of recent security issues. Usually, the red card gives access to every part of the terminal and beyond, while the green and blue give access to certain areas.
“For those who do business at the airports or own shops, we are restricting them to wherever their business is and not beyond. The card will now only take them to their business places or offices. Those who have no business being in certain areas will no longer be there. It is a permanent measure to control movement. We’re tired of having touts and unwanted people in sensitive areas of the airport.”
The move is coming on the heel of calls by a security expert for the audit of airport staff following incidents of stealing from aircraft and runway incursions.
Aviation security consultant, Group Capt. John Ojikutu (retd), had told our correspondent in an interview that the audit of all airport staff in view of recent reports of aircraft invasion at the Lagos airport had become inevitable.
Ojikutu opined that only an insider with the knowledge of aircraft compartments would attempt to break into it.
He added, “We have to start looking inwards; there are so many people at the airport, especially those at the airside, who are not supposed to be there. There are people who have been disengaged but still go about with their pass; so, it is difficult to tell them apart from those who are still engaged.
“The airport is too porous and like I have always said, FAAN, the airlines and even the ground handling companies need to come together to work on this audit.”
Ojikutu stated that stealing from aircraft, which was common in the 1990s, was returning and should be checked by FAAN and operators of airport terminals across the country, adding that a new perimeter fence should be built as the current one was too low and porous.
“This type of incident is very common on the 18 Right (in Lagos) because it is close to the very porous perimeter fence and hidden from the operational people, and except they have a secondary perimeter fence, the incidents may continue. FAAN should organise itself, go round the fence and figure out what happens there too,” he said.
Yakubu stated that apart from scrutinising the renewal and issuance of the ODCs, the agency had set up a committee to look into recent security breaches at the airport.
She said the committee, made up of all the security agencies at the airport, would come up with a report that would help in solving the problems of safety and security.