Passengers and users of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, on Thursday, expressed diverse concerns over the recently introduced stringent security measures adopted by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
While some agreed with the necessity of the newly introduced security measures aimed at checking any form of terrorism following the October 1, 2010 twin-bomb blasts in Abuja, other travellers believe that the development has “unbearably” added to the regular traffic jam experienced on roads leading to the airports. At peak periods, the Lagos airport narrow roads are often characterised by high vehicular congestion as workers and travellers move to or leave the airport. “I never thought that the situation in Abuja would warrant this depressing screening being carried out by these officers,” said James Ani, an airport staff. “They may be right but it is highly unbearable considering the time we spend on this traffic.”
The screening is jointly carried out by operatives of the Nigerian Air Force, Police Anti-Bomb Squad, Immigration, National Civil Defence Corps, and Aviation Security, on all the routes leading to the airports. According to Mr Ani, this has added to the plights suffered by commuters on the roads. He called on the airports authority to deploy more men to the roads in order to fast track the process of the checks.
Go to the airports early
On the other hand, Samuel Oluwalana, a passenger at the airport commended the initiative and called on other airports users to comply with the security operatives. “It is laudable despite what some people will say when you look at the traffic that this must have caused,” he said. “It is better to be late and be alive than to lose your live to a bomber or a terrorist while in haste to get to the airport.”
NEXT, on Thursday, reported the new security measures at the airport with the officers stationed on roads at about two kilometres away from the international terminal, where they enforce thorough screening of both commercial and private motorists using the roads. Richard Aisuebeogun, the Managing Director of FAAN, in a statement on Thursday, urged on the public to assist the agency in its fight for a safe and secured airport, adding that with respect to the prolonged traffic, travellers and airports users should endeavour to get to the airport “two to three hours” ahead before their stipulated departure time to avoid missing their flights.
“We also want to advise members of the local communities and all stakeholders to report any strange or unusual activities within the airport environment to security agencies nationwide,” he said. “We appeal to all airport road users to cooperate with the officials involved in the screening exercises, to ensure smooth facilitation, and undue delays.”