The aviation industry in Nigeria has achieved a major milestone under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari with the graduation of the first set of arms-bearing aviation security (AVSEC) personnel.
The graduation ceremony was held in Abuja at the weekend and the news was announced by the special assistant to the minister of aviation, James Odaudu.
The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika described the achievement as “unprecedented and essential” for national security. He emphasised that the newly graduated personnel received the best training and are well-equipped with the necessary values, morals and discipline required to discharge their duties effectively.
The minister warned the security personnel that their arms should not be used to harass or intimidate innocent airport users. Instead, they must use them to safeguard airline officials, passengers and other airport users. He added that the civility of civil aviation must be upheld at all costs.
The minister recounted incidents in the past where AVSEC officials were overpowered by aggrieved passengers at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and some political supporters forcefully entered the tarmac at the Sokoto Airport. He said that such clear security breaches could have been forestalled by armed AVSEC personnel.
Sirika assured the personnel that the necessary uniforms, armour and equipment required to discharge their responsibilities have been made available. He also warned that conflicts with other security operatives at airports would not be tolerated, as collaboration and synergy are required for airport users’ and infrastructure’s safety and security.
The minister thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment to the development of the sector, particularly with a focus on safety and security. He highlighted the government’s determination to ensure that airports in the country are secure and safe for all users.
In conclusion, the graduation of the first set of armed AVSEC personnel is a significant achievement that would enhance the safety and security of the aviation industry in Nigeria. The government’s commitment to the development of the sector and the realisation of legacy achievements in the industry is commendable.