Saturday, April 13Inside Business Africa

More VIPs violate safety, security protocols at airport

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), has recorded more breaches of safety and security protocol by the privileged persons and security operatives.

The latest in the series is the Head of the Directorate of State Security (DSS), who allegedly assaulted an Aviation Security (AVSEC) in the line of duty at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

Aviation workers under the aegis of National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), have flayed such cases of assaults and violation of safety protocol, threatening to declare culprits persona non grata at the airports.

The threat was on the heels of some Very Important Persons (VIPs), among them, sitting and former governors that have been fingered for such abuses.

The Guardian learnt that the DSS boss assaulted the unnamed AVSEC official, who tried to screen another traveller, whose passage through a metal detector activated an alarm.

The Abuja Airport Manager, in a series of tweets yesterday, explained that the assault took place at the International Terminal of the airport.

The Tweet titled: ‘breach of security procedure and assault on AVSEC Officer by Head of DSS at the International Terminal of NAIA Abuja,’ read: “We note with dismay that Mr. Safiyanu Abba, the Head of DSS at NAIA deliberately obstructed airport security process and slapped an aviation security officer, who was performing his duty.

“He breached security procedures by obstructing further searching of a visitor, who had just walked through the metal detector as he activated the alarms. The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria strongly condemns this abuse of power, and the security process in our airports, this has been duly escalated,” the tweets read in part.

President of NUATE, Ben Nnabue, expressed disapproval of the attitude of some highly placed Nigerians, who use the nation’s airports.

Nnabue said the reported incident of unruly behaviour by ex-governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State, in which he allegedly physically assaulted an airport worker and prevented him from executing an important COVID-19 protocol of disinfecting his luggage, was quite abhorring and regrettable.

“There are reports of a similar incident in Port Harcourt recently. We had thought that the usual repugnant and abrasive attitude of many Nigerian VIPs would yield to the emergency of the COVID-19 pandemic and allow reason to prevail at this trying time. These incidents show that that is not the case, which is quite unfortunate.

“We are compelled, therefore, to sound this note of warning to VIPs, and indeed all airport users that our union will henceforth take more than passing interest in the unruliness of any kind at Nigerian airports, especially as regards flouting of COVID-19 protocols.

“Accordingly, all airport workers are hereby directed to immediately report any such incident to local union officials for immediate mitigating action. In addition, any airport user who falls culprit in this regard will be declared persona non grata at all Nigerian airports and may as such be embarrassed if found within any airport premises.

“While we join the Federal airport’s Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to find mitigation for this kind of isolated case, and even as we continue to engage stakeholders on issues of Occupational Health & Safety (OHS), we shall urge all airport workers to continue to discharge their duties with the highest level of professionalism in order to make the airport environment COVID-19 compliant and safe for all users.

“In this regard, we wish to allay the fears of the travelling public and invite all to feel free and safe to travel with the approved airlines and through the approved airports which have been certified by the NCAA after thorough scrutiny,” Nnabue said.

Source: Guardian

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