If Nigeria decides to build perimeter and operational fences around the 22 airports that are currently partially fenced or without fences, the country would require about N25 billion.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) recommends that countries fence their airports to ensure safety and to check influx of unauthorised persons into the airports.
This is as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, has assured all the airport users of absolute security and safety of humans, cargo and equipment at all times.
A recent survey carried out by FAAN indicated that to properly fence the 22 federal government-owned airports, the authority would need about N25 billion.
According to FAAN’s spokesman, Mr Yakubu Dati, each of the 22 airports is about 50 kilometre long and would require serious investments for all of them to be properly fenced according to the ICAO, recommended practices.
Apart from the four international airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt that are partially fenced, other 18 airports owned by the federal government are not fenced, a situation, which has led to encroachments on the lands by some indigenes.
The 22 airports across the country occupy over 500 kilometres of land mass and ICAO security guidelines prescribe that all airports must be secured with double perimeter fences.
Dati however explained that there are other safety measures FAAN has taken in line with international best practice to boost security and safety within the nation’s airports.
He said, “The agency has introduced the perimeter patrol, built perimeter towers, which enables the Aviation Security, (AVSEC) personnel and other security agencies to have a full overview of the airport environment and installed latest technologies in strategic locations to increase surveillance.
“Most of the leakages observed in the past by analysts and other aviation stakeholders had been closed by FAAN and this has made it possible for FAAN to scale the American Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security audit carried out earlier in the month at the Lagos Airport.”
A team of the Airport Council International (ACI) was in Nigeria to carry out security audit on the airports and they identified some gaps, which Dati said FAAN was able to close the gaps without being specific.
“That is why when TSA came calling about two weeks ago, we were given clean bill of health because all the loopholes have been closed,” he added.
He however identified insider’s threat as another area that the authority is observing and taking action against.
“We profile anybody that works within the terminal or in the terminal in line with global standards. It is after passing that we issue them the On-Duty-Card, ODC. Even at that, the ODC also have some levels of restrictions such that it is not every holder that has access to every part of the terminal. We have different levels and colours based on the level of clearance you have received,” he said.
Dati observed that airport as an enabler to the nation’s economy contributes about $1 billion annually while also providing more than 300,000 jobs, stressing that the government would continue to ensure growth in the sector.