Against the backdrop of recent attacks on Kaduna International Airport by kidnappers, during which members of staff of Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, were abducted, and the attacks on police stations in Owerri, Imo State, the Federal Ministry of Aviation has warned of imminent planned attacks across airports in the country.
According to a memo dated April 9 and signed by the Deputy General Manager of Administration and Logistics of FAAN, S.M. Mamman, and addressed to airport chiefs of security, airports top on the list for which criminals were considering carrying out attacks are Kaduna, Maiduguri, Sokoto, Kano, Abuja and Lagos.
Airport chiefs were, by the memo, directed to submit a list of existing and additional measures to counter the threats, along with their cost implications where applicable.
By the memo, also, they are expected to urgently convene an emergency meeting of airport security committees to review the status of airport security, jointly recommend appropriate measures and share responsibility for effective implementation.
“I am directed to convey an alert from the Ministry of Aviation regarding security threats by criminal elements against airports in Nigeria, and to request for the immediate enumeration of necessary countermeasures for the protection of airports/facilities under your purview.
“Specifically, the airports top on the list for which criminals are considering carrying out attacks include those in Kaduna, Maiduguri, Sokoto, Kano, Abuja, and Lagos amongst others. However, all airports are hereby alerted and requested to operate at a heightened threat level”, the statement reads in part.
The General Manager, Corporate Affairs of FAAN, Henrietta Yakubu, when contacted for reaction, said she was waiting for confirmation from the appropriate quarters.
However, aviation security expert and former commandant of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Captain John Ojikutu, said that to get to the root of the issue, no one should look too far from the targets of the attacks for those who perpetrated the planning as both have insider collusion.
Ojikutu said security agencies should find the insiders colluding with the criminals first before they get those from the outside.
He expressed his belief that nobody would come outside the target area to attack it without pre-knowledge of the target areas, security and strength.
“What is happening around us and threatening the states and the national security could be a rehearsal of bigger things waiting to happen.
“I have said this several times and it seems there are no sufficient knowledge or understanding or careful assessments of the local, states and national intelligence judging from the various attacks we have seen at Kaduna airports and other States agencies sharing same boundaries.
“The attacks on the police station in Owerri is not different and no one should look too far from the targets of these attacks for those who perpetrated the planning and the acts; both have insiders’ collusions.
“Find the insiders collusions first before you get the others from outsiders.
“Nobody would come outside the target area to attack it without pre knowledge of the target areas, security and strength”, Ojikutu stated.