- Category: Travel & Transport
- Published on Friday, 20 August 2010 07:53
- Written by Punch
- Hits: 1719
The Director-General of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority NCAA, Dr. Harold Demuren, has said that the new screening requirements for VIPs only exempts presidents, vice-presidents and their wives from being checked before departure.
Our correspondent learnt that the new rule was as a result of new security measures introduced by the United States. The measures were in response to global threats in the aviation industry, especially the alleged botched attempt of a Nigerian, Farourk AbdulMutallab, to bomb an American airlines on December 25, 2009.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, had cancelled his scheduled flight to the United Kingdom on August 6, 2010, when British Airways officials asked him to go through pat-down screening at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
In a statement on the issue, Bankole had explained that he refused to be screened because he fell under the category of people exempted by global aviation rules from being searched.
But in a speech he delivered on Thursday, titled, “Enhanced aviation security in Nigeria airports: Aftermath of December 25, 2009 attack,” in Lagos, Demuren explained that in the past, passengers’ bodies were not usually searched.
Speaking at the event, put together by the Nigerian Academy of Engineering, in Lagos, he said screening was limited to detection of metal objects carried by passengers. He said the situation had changed.
According to Demuren, “Nobody is exempted from security. It is better to go through security to avoid embarrassment.
“Only the President, the Vice-President and their wives are exempted. I don’t want to speak further on it, but it is better to go through security at all airports.”
Responding to questions from reporters after the lecture, Demuren said the terminal of the Lagos airport had to undergo urgent repairs.
He stressed that “airports are no longer built the way the Lagos airport terminal is. Airport terminals are built with modern architecture.
“London Heathrow and Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa and other modern airports were built with steel and glass, no longer bricks or blocks, bringing out their aesthetics.”