Terror attacks loom at Nigerian airports, experts warn

– Terror attacks are imminent at airports around the country

– This is the submission of security experts in the aviation industry

– The experts are now calling for the review of aviation safety programmes at Nigerian airports

Security experts in the aviation industry yesterday, December 1 warned that terror attacks are imminent at airports around the country, The Guardian reports.

The experts said that the news of another stowaway on Arik Air aircraft suggested that attacks might just be closer than the authorities were aware of.

The experts made their views known at the breakfast meeting of the Aviation Safety Round Table (ASRT), a think-tank group of the aviation sector.

They urged the federal government to immediately review aviation security programmes at the airports and operating airlines, if Nigeria must prevent a possible attack.

An aviation security consultant, Group Captain John Ojikutu (rtd), observed that it was the second time Arik was being targeted within three days, after some armed robbers told police in Port Harcourt, Rivers state that they were headed for an Arik plane when they were apprehended in a shootout.

He also hinted of a recent incident where a domestic airline passenger plane could not land because some herdsmen, allegedly with sophisticated ammunition, were grazing their cattle around the runway.

He lamented that most of the airports have no perimeter fences and others that are fenced.

“For all of these issues, I will hold the NCAA responsible. When the case of stowaway happened in Benin, I asked them ‘how did it happen without an insider’s connivance?’ The perimeter fences are porous. The MMIA has one that is not security-enhanced. That is why we have all these cases of stowaways.

“What I expect NCAA to immediately do is to review all the security programmes of these airports, and of Arik in particular. We are talking of the lives of Nigerians here being put at risk and government of Nigeria has a responsibility to protect them,” Ojikutu said.

On his part, cyber crime security expert, Ifeanyi Ugochukwu said the threat of terrorism was no longer in doubt, “it is only a matter of when it will happen.”

His words: “Cyber security threat is real. It is not about if it will, but when it will happen. Our environment encourages insiders’ threat because we employ people we don’t have their background checks to work in our airports.

“The Nigerian state, regulators, operators and the passengers all have work to do, but must first be aware of the precarious situation we are in.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has said it is doing its best to ensure that security standards are duly implemented at the airports.

In a related development, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja will be closed temporarily for rehabilitation to commence at the airport’s runway soon.

The federal government has approved about N1 billion for the project, while the Kaduna airport has been designated as an alternative to Abuja airport while the repairs last.