Lagos, Abuja airports selected as ICAO team begins Nigeria’s aviation security audit

Two of Nigeria’s biggest airports,  the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport would be used for rigorous security tests to ascertain the country’s level of aviation security.

All security implementation verification will be carried out at the two airports. This is coming as a team of International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) auditors has arrived in Abuja, Nigeria, to commence the 2024 ICAO Universal Security Audit Programme (USAP) through Continuous Monitoring Approach (CMA) for Lagos and Abuja airports today.

Festus Keyamo (SAN)

The USAP CMA which will run for two weeks will end on March 22, 2024, and will cover 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).

Members of the four-man team are Callum Vine (team lead), James Mabala, Tebogo Mphela and Alagie Jeng.

Welcoming the team, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo said that the Universal Security Audit Program represents a concerted effort to uphold the highest standards of security across all facets of Nigeria’s aviation industry.

READ ALSO:  Hungarian firm mulls aircraft manufacturing, assembly in Nigeria

He noted that through rigorous assessments, comprehensive evaluations, and collaborative partnerships, Nigeria aims to fortify its defences against evolving threats and vulnerabilities.

Keyamo, who was represented by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr Emmanuel Meribole, while commending the dedication and diligence of all stakeholders, including regulatory bodies, security agencies, service providers and aviation security personnel whose unwavering commitment ensures the success of Nigeria’s aviation security endeavours, expressed hope that there would not be a significant security concern.

The Acting Director General of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Chris Najomo, while welcoming the ICAO auditors to the 2024 USAP CMA audit, stated that the objectives of the ICAO USAP CMA were to improve global aviation security (AVSEC) through auditing and the continuous monitoring of AVSEC performance of member states by assessing the level of effective implementation of critical elements of the States’ AVSEC oversight system which indicates the sustainability of the State’s AVSEC system.

READ ALSO:  Mustapha harps on strategy to boost water transportation in Nigeria

Other objectives outlined by Najomo are to assess the degree of compliance of the state with Annex 9 and 17 bothering on facilitation to the Convention on International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and AVSEC standards and security-related standards respectively.

He, however, expressed optimism that Nigeria will surpass its last rating with the progressive transformations that have taken place in the industry since the last exercise and considering the level of commitment of the current administration to ensure secure, safe and efficient air transportation in Nigeria.

He promised to provide support and maximum cooperation towards ensuring a hitch-free exercise.

The NCAA is the nation’s statutory regulatory authority responsible for the development, implementation and maintenance of the National Civil Aviation Security Programme (NCASP).

To ensure Nigeria excels in the exercise which was last held in 2015, the Banjul Accord Group Aviation Safety Oversight Organization (BAGASOO) conducted Aviation Security (AVSEC) Mock Audit in both Lagos and Abuja airports between March 4 and 7th2024.

READ ALSO:  Olateru: Nigeria must undergo reforms for rapid development

To forestall a repeat of the poor performance of the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) of the ICAO in which Nigeria did poorly, the Minister had in January 2024 set up a security oversight committee to be chaired by him to close the gaps in safety and security audit as Nigeria works to pass the audit which comes in March 2024.

“We have a security audit coming in March 2024. Let us work very hard towards that. To make your work seamless, always adhere to financial regulations and administrative procedures to mention but a few,” the Minister said

Wole Shadare