Minister Orders Investigaton Of Security Breach At Abuja Airport

Minister of State for Aviation Hadi Sirik

Minister of State for Aviation Hadi Sirika has ordered the suspension of three top officials of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, over an incident involving Turkish Airlines at the airport.

Mr. Sirika told reporters in Abuja yesterday that after listening to explanations by the airport officials on the incident which happened at about 11pm on December 24.

He said the ministry ordered thorough investigation to ascertain the cause of the breach and why the airline brought in passengers without their luggage.

The suspended officials, according to him, are the Airport Manager, Terminal Manager and Head of Airport Security, who were ordered to hand over to their next in rank pending the conclusion of the investigation, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

He stated that the action of the passengers, forcing their way into the tarmac and blocking the aircraft from taking off was a security breach which must not be condoned.

Sirika said: “There has been an unfortunate incident where some agitated passengers of the Turkish Airlines arrived without their luggage making them to force their way into the tarmac which is a breach of security.

“The explanation given is not satisfactory because the primary purpose of the government is to ensure safety of lives and property of its citizens.

“The cardinal objective of this administration is to secure the country and manage it and we cannot fail in aviation and we cannot fail in this important assignment at a very important point.

“We have ordered for the investigation into the matter immediately and all the people that are manning the various places; Airport Manager, Terminal Manager and Head of Security, should handover to the next man in rank pending the outcome of the investigation.

“As to the airline also, the Consumer Protection Unit of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has been ordered to find out what happened, how compliant they are and deal with it accordingly.”

He added that the ministry was yet to get the flight manifest to be able to ascertain the number of passengers involved.

According to him, the passengers got agitated and got access into the prohibited area because there was security lapse.

The minister stated that the nation’s aviation sector had the capacity to grow, adding that it was already showing signal that it could tremendously contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

According to him, aviation is carrying by value, 31 per cent of the world cargo which makes it a very important industry as the fastest means of transportation.

“With specific to Nigeria, you could see how we grew from Kano Airport where the first plane landed in the country to about 22 Federal Government owned airports plus several other private owned airports.

On the whole, aviation I can say has grown to an appreciable level in the country and it has the capacity to grow more which is important to the economy of the country,” he said.

Mr. Sirika added that the country also had good manpower such as pilots and engineers to move the industry forward.

He disclosed that the government was determined to deliver a more vibrant and efficient aviation sector in 2016 by making safety, security and efficiency its watch word with regards to transportation.

“It is not about the beauty of the airports or planting flowers or other vanities, it is about safety, security and efficiency as far as aviation is concerned,’’ he said.