Lack of personnel, training, quality control, others cost Nigeria ICAO security audit

…Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania outperformed Nigeria
Lack of adequate personnel especially in critical areas of Aviation Security (AVSEC), poor passenger facilitation, poor oversight on the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), lack of provision of guidance tools, absence of critical information, quality control obligations and resolution of security concerns in terms of deficiencies communicated, development of corrective actions and enforcement cost Nigeria the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Universal Security Audit Programme (USAP) Continuous Monitoring Assessment (CMA) with 71% score.
Nigeria dropped a whopping 25% points from the 96% score it had in 2015, signposting serious gaps in many areas of the industry.
Shockingly, Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania scored well above 80 per cent while Nigeria scored 71.04% in the last ICAO security audit, which lasted two weeks and ended on March 22, 2024.
The appointment of people into critical positions without good knowledge of the roles they play is also a contributory factor as many of the agencies are littered with people who are not professionals and not well trained in areas they manage causing the decline in aviation security rating.
The USAP CMA covered areas such as Inflight Security (IFS), Passenger and Baggage Security (PAX), Acts of Unlawful Interference (AUI), Facilitation (FAL), Legislation (LEG), Training (TRG), Quality Control Function (QCF), Operations (OPS) and Cargo, Mail and Catering (CGO).
The last audit before the one in March this year was in 2015. Nigeria scored 96%, regarded as the highest in Africa, culminating in Nigeria receiving an award in 2019 at the ICAO Assembly.
One critical area that scored Nigeria low is the aviation regulatory body’s oversight of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), airlines and other stakeholders in the provision of guidance, tools critical information and others that were well below 50%.
Other areas that the sector did not cover itself in glory were the area of qualification and training of Aviation Security (AVSEC), absence of critical information, poor quality control activities and resolution of security concerns.
The spokesman for the NCAA, Mr. Michael Achimugu had recently justified the reason the country’s aviation sector was rated 71.04 per cent by the  ICAO, saying Keyamo, and Acting Director General of NCAA, Captain Chris Najomo corrected some inadequacies because they engaged some aviation security experts to carry out a mock audit ahead of the ICAO audit.
Achimugu said if those deficiencies had been left, Nigeria would have been rated 30 per cent when results were released.
It is not all doom and gloom for Nigeria as the NCAA was rated highly in the area of legislation just as a few people expressed reservation over the 71% scored in the latest audit, others made a case for the sector and NCAA because the protocols used in 2015 when Nigeria scored 96% has been expanded as the aviation security standards had gone through a lot of changes.
There were quite new standards and some recommended practices. Experts said since the ICAO audit of 2015 was held, there were about 5 amendments which means there was quite a substantial change.
There were many protocol questions. For instance, in 2015, the protocols were over 300 now they are over 400-500 protocols.
According to an ICAO auditor, “It is not interesting to explain that Nigeria is now 71% even though we cannot compare the two audits. The reason why is that between the last one and now, the aviation security standard has gone through a lot of changes. There were quite new standards and some recommended practices. When the ICAO audit of 2015 was held there were about five amendments which means there was quite a substantial change. Many new things are involved.”
That’s not enough to say we should be low. When you compare Nigeria to countries like Tanzania, Ghana did 85 per cent. Uganda did 81% percent. We can compare because these countries did a lot better.”
Recall that the audit programme started with the first cycle. Nigeria was audited for the first time under the first cycle in 2004. At that time, the concentration of the audit was on airport security operations. Later the second cycle audit started a few years after that.
Nigeria was audited again in 2008 under the second cycle and that one was prerogative to know the oversight capability of the CAA in terms of inspection, audit and enforcement; and generally under the eight ICAO critical elements of a state civil aviation security oversight system.
In 2015 the audit evolved again and it went to the Continuous Monitoring Approach(CMA)

The objective of the USAP-CMA is to promote global aviation security through continuous auditing and monitoring of member states’ aviation security compliance and oversight capabilities by regularly and continuously obtaining and analyzing data on Member States’ aviation security performance, including the level of implementation of the critical elements of an aviation security oversight system and the degree of compliance with the standards of Annex 17-Aviation Security and the relevant security related standards of Annex 9-Facilitation, as well as associated procedures, guidance material, and security-related practices. It is expedient that personnel with background knowledge of aviation security are appointed into offices like it is done in those countries where they performed better than Nigeria as expressed in the audit result. Aviation Security is treated as a matter of highest priority in those countries. Nigeria could do the same.
Wole Shadare

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