BusinessDay

FG requires N25bn to construct over 500km perimeter fences

To thoroughly secure Nigerian airports against animal incursions into the runways, the rising trend of stowaway and land encroachment, the Federal Government would need to invest at least N25 billion to construct perimeter and operational fences across all the 22 airports operated by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).

The staggering sum would take care of the over 500 kilometres landmass across the 22 airports in the country.

Yakubu Dati, general manager, corporate communications, FAAN, who said this in an interview at the agency’s headquarters at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, MMA, Lagos, said the amount was attained after a recent survey carried out by the authority.

At the moment, only four international airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt have partial perimeter fencing, the other 18 airports owned by the Federal Government are not fenced, a situation, which has led to encroachments on the lands by some indigenous people.

Dati, who gave a breakdown, said that each of the 22 airports was about 50 kilometres long and would require investments for all of them to be properly fenced according to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) recommended practices.

ICAO security guidelines prescribe that all airports must be secured with double perimeter fences.

Dati however explained that there were other safety measures FAAN had taken in line with international best practice to boost security and safety within the nation’s airports.

He pointed out that the agency had 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.

He also maintained that most of the leakages observed in the past by analysts and other aviation stakeholders had been closed by the authority, stressing that this had 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.

He said: “It would be recalled that about two months ago, we invited a team from Airport Council International, ACI, to carry out security audit of our airports and they identified some gaps, which needed to be closed and we were able to close those gaps. 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.

“Insider’s threat is another area that we are looking at. 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.”

According to Dati, 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 will continue to ensure growth in the sector.

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