The Federal Government has approved the bearing of arms by personnel of Aviation Security (AVSEC) to enhance the National Civil Aviation Security Programme (NCASP) and the approval has secured the support of the Aviation Round Table Safety Initiative (ART).
President of ART, Gbenga Olowo, who spoke in Lagos said that the primary objective of AVSEC was the protection and safety of passengers, crew, ground personnel, aircraft and facilities serving the civil aviation.
Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika announced that the AVSEC officials at the airports would start bearing arms within the next three months. He, however, noted that the participation of other security agencies in the sector for the same purposes was inevitable.
Olowo said: “consequent to this approval, we strongly advise a review of the airport security architecture to cover elements of the various security agencies which will now form the new organogram. This will eliminate inter agency rivalry, foster cooperation, provide common platform to asses measure of effectiveness, process operational effectiveness and after action plans.’’
He further advised the government to ensure that selected personnel to bear arms were properly trained and tested in rudiment areas of arms handling, standard armoury and trained armourer for safe keeping of ammunition.
According to him, necessary procedure for issuance, retrieval and accountability of expended rounds if necessary, should also be put in place.
“In the 90s, we delegated and rotated the heads of security agencies serving in the airports to supervise and control night operations which is akin to the United States Transportation Security Agency (TSA) model.
Security threats have evolved and we as a nation are challenged to find the nexus and best fit security architecture, as our security challenges cannot be the same with other nations.”