Seamless facilitation across international airports in Nigeria may become a reality soon if what the House of Representatives is planning is implemented and receives the nod of all concerned security agencies operating at the airports.
The plan of the members of the House of Representatives is to come up with a single security screening points both for arriving and departing passengers.
This plan has been greeted with applause from major players and aviation experts in the industry.
First to speak on it is the Aviation Roundtable, ART, a body of professionals in the Nigerian aviation industry.
President of the body, Dr. Gbenga Olowo says, the centralisation of security screening checkpoints at the nation’s airports is a welcome development, as the current multiple checks by various security agencies are a disgrace to the country.
According to him, having a single point of security checks geared towards sanitizing the airports must be accomplished by the government.
Olowo stated that, it was necessary for the Federal Government to sanitise the Nigerian airports, stressing that if the Transport Security Administration (TSA) of the United States could centralize security information, Nigeria should not be an exemption.
Dr. Olowo, said, the myriads of security points at the airports had made nonsense of the Ease-of-Doing-Business scheme introduced by the Federal Government, stressing that, the poor implementation of laws had been the bane of the nation.
“The Vice President Yemi Osinbajo came, issued a statement on this matter, the many checkpoints disappeared at a time. I don’t know whether it was gazetted or not. Action has always been our problem. We have discussed many issues and matters, but implementation has always been our problem. If that will be our Christmas gift for 2021 for the sector, get it done and sanitise our airports.”
“Most of the time, when policy statements come out, implementation always becomes a big task. We have spoken at various times on this matter. Our Secretary General, Grp. Capt. John Ojikutu has released a lot of documents on how this can be done several years back.
The ART President says, if the current House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, could ensure the implementation of the policy, the image of Nigeria would swell greatly in the comity of nations, while Ease-of-Doing-Business would be achievable.
“The Gbajabiamila House of Representatives is thinking of giving Nigeria something close to TSA. That is sharing security information and just having one security checkpoint at the airports. That is sharing news for me and the entire body of ART is throwing its weight totally behind this”.
According to him, in the U.S. for instance, all the information about a passenger – political criminal, corruption, drug and others are in one centre and accessible by all the security agents, insisting that those could also be replicated here through technology.
“Three stages only. Once the check-in is done, you have your boarding pass, you go to the security door and once that is done, you are in the screening area. You go to the shopping lounge. As simple as that”.
“But, here, you go through immigration, somebody is in the security team, somebody will check your international passport in and out. World best practices become an issue for us in Nigeria. Why? Are we the only country in the world that has a problem? Best practices are best practices and it is done in other economies. I salute Gbajabiamila and I think he is able to drive this to a good conclusion,”
“All these many checkpoints at our airports, and the ‘what do you have for the boys?’ Give us a bad image non-stop. All these unnecessary compliments at airports, rather than concentrate on the job; check the documents and let the fellow move are unwarranted.”