Time is Now Ripe for AVSEC to Start Bearing Arms- ANAP3 min read
Aviation Security Personnel at the Murtala Muhammed Internationa Airport, Lagos (LOS}
The federal government has been called upon to put a stop to her protracted disregard for the subsisting legislation by the act of the national assembly which empowers aviation security, AVSEC, to bear arms to protect themselves, law-abiding travellers, the facility and the workers in the nation’s airports.
This call was made by the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals, ANAP, in reaction to the forceful entry to a controlled security area of the cargo terminal by a customs official at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos, about a fortnight ago
A media statement released by ANAP and signed by its Secretary-General, Comrade Abdul Rasaq Seidu, said the inhuman treatment and the harassments of staff of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, especially the assault on Avsec operatives by the military and para-military personnel have now become unbearable.
The statement said the widely reported incident at the cargo terminal of MMIA by a senior Customs officer should be made the last straw that had broken the camel’s back, as the airport managers are expected to take a big bold step on the matter and never allow such ugly incident rare its ugly head again.
According to ANAP, the ugly practice could only be eliminated when the Federal Ministry of Aviation, FMA, and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, awake from slumbering to actualise the enabling act of the national assembly that empowers the aviation security personnel to bear arms.
The union urged FAAN management not to treat this particular incident involving the Comptroller of Customs with levity as some of the previous assaults had ended in death.
The media statement warned that “If this type of breach of security persist, it will send a bad signal to ICAO AND Aviation Community, in general, it could also adversely affect the current Cart I CERT being enjoyed by Nigeria which was laboured hard to achieve by the Federal Government”
A caveat was raised in the statement that, “if this impunity acts by Custom Officers are not stopped, we shall have no other option than to take Labour action as we may deem fit to checkmate the inhuman treatment meted on FAAN Avsec by the Customs Officials at the Airports”.
The ANAP Scribe in the statement, however, put all aviation stakeholders on notice that the unions might soon be forced to defend themselves by calling members out on a work to rule as a way to tell the world that the life of aviation workers in Nigeria also matters.
Recalled that at the last quarter of last year, 2021, the Department of State Services commenced the screening of about 100 qualified Aviation Security personnel who were to bear arms at airports.
Nigeria Transport Hub, NTH, also reliably learnt that shooting ranges for the AVSEC officers had been 80 per cent completed at the Lagos and Abuja airports, while the armoury was also being worked on currently.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had announced in March 2018 that aviation security personnel of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria would be licensed to carry arms at airports, following the approval granted by the Federal Government.
The protracted delay in the actualization of this presidential order as was made known to our correspondent in November 2021 by the Managing Director of FAAN, Capt Hamisu Yadudu, has since been of concern to a majority of the stakeholdersShare