The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has tightened security at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, with expanded and improved close circuit television (CCTV), intelligence and patrol by security operatives.
This was disclosed at the weekend in Lagos, by the Airport Regional Manager, South West, Victoria Shin-Aba who told newsmen that the agency has deployed CCTV at every part of the airport’s terminal and is currently extending the facility to the runway, taxiway and all the surroundings of the airport.
Shin-Aba, also said patrol team escorts arriving and departing aircraft from the terminal to the runway and in addition, security moles, have been deployed at the airside of the airport to monitor illegal movement of people at the airport and to stem possible security breaches.
Furthermore, he said security operatives have been stationed around the holding points of the runway to ensure that when the aircraft is waiting, no one could have access to it.
“To ensure that people don’t hide in bushes at the airside of the airport, we made sure that all the bushes are cleared. We started this patrol of vehicles escorting aircraft.
“The allegation of theft on the runway is said to happen in the evening from 7:00 pm till morning, which is when it is slightly dark.
“So we positioned the patrol van permanently to the holding point area we call Alpha 3, which is where most of the aircraft may be directed to wait before taking off.
“There is a patrol van with security agencies such as FAAN, police and Air Force. We have another van escorting the aircraft to park. We do this both in the day and night. You see them escorting the aircraft. So, as soon as you land and turn we follow them at a reasonable, allowable distance until they park.
“We have a little challenge with CCTV at the airside because of night operation. The advantage of CCTV is that when there is an allegation, you play back and see how it happened. By the time the accuser and the accused look at the CCTV, they know if the alleged incident happened or not. We now have our vehicles with dashboard camera in the interim, we have gotten just few, but we will import some more soon,” she said.
Shin-Aba, refuted the allegation that there was theft going on at the runway, saying that since the reports, no one has proven it empirically to the security committee that there was any security breach.
An aircraft engineer of over 41 years who pleaded anonymity affirmed Shin-Aba’s statement that there might not have been any theft at the runway, saying it would be difficult to open the cargo, hold of the aircraft when the engines are running, thus refuting the allegation of possible poaching of Turkish Airline cargo aircraft.
“We believe that some of these security breach reports are not happening, but we need to prove it and the only way to do this is if we have a CCTV to show for it.
“We have the military men on the airside that helps us at the airside. We have night guards and those hiding inside bush to ensure there are no intruders.
“We have plans to deploy dogs soon as part of security layers and we have identified where we are going to build the doghouse at the airport,” Shin-Aba also said.
By Chinedy Eze