The federal government has approved that security personnel at the nation’s airports will now bear arms as a measure to improve the general security at the airports and guard against any possible terror attacks.
The government also assured that Nigeria will have a national carrier before the end of this year.
Minister of state for aviation, Hadi Sirika, disclosed these to State House correspondents after the FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja.
Sirika asserted that the federal government is very serious about aviation security, saying that, just last week, the president approved that aviation security personnel should bear arms.
He explained that the new aviation security arrangement will take the form of the United States’ Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is an agency of the U.S. Department of
Sirika said: “So we are trying to make them take the form and shape of TSA of the US with K-9 dogs, handcuffs, the guards, the batons, light weapons, etc. The minister of interior is helping us in that regard, with the directive of Mr. President.
“They are partnering with us and other stakeholders to keep our airports secure. All these will be unveiled at the next stakeholders’ meeting.”
On the issue of national carrier, the minister said it will be wholly private sector-driven.
He contended that, with the exception of Ethiopian Airline, it had been proved that government does not do well with this kind of venture.
“When we came in, we were very clear on our targets and goals and what we set out to achieve. And we did say that Nigeria does not have a national airline. The national airline will be one that the government will have no hand in; normally it can have three per cent. It will be private sector-led, private sector-driven.
“We are going to have a national carrier; it is on course, and because it is a PPP (public-private project) thing, it has to go through IC and C, and it also has to follow all the due process. So it is time consuming, but I hope that, very soon, before the end of the year, we will have a very strong, viable national airline.
“For me, if any airline will have the capacity to deploy several aircraft with seamless operation, non-disruptive, provide the service, go the long haul, take advantage and give other international airlines a run for their money, we don’t need to get involved; it is because there is none,” he said.