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FG, US SIGN MOU ON SECURITY INFORMATION-SHARING, AIR MARSHALS ON BOARD

By NBF News

The Federal Government Nigeria has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United States on security information sharing and having Air Marshals aboard aircraft flying in and out of US in bid to prevent a repeat of the December 25, 2010 attempted terrorist attack on a United States-bound aircraft by a Nigerian, Farouk Abdulmutallab.

The MoU signed by the two countries will include timely sharing of security information as it concerns air travel and to also allow Air Marshals on board aircraft flying in and out of the United States. Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren, disclosed this while delivering a lecture entitled 'Enhanced Aviation Security in Nigeria Airports: Aftermath of December 25, 2009 Attack' at the Nigerian Academy of Engineering fellow forum in Lagos, yesterday.

He stated that with the agreement the two countries can now share security information as it concerns air travel and terrorism, pointing out that if the information received at the Amsterdam in Netherlands was shared with other security agencies at airports, Abdulmutallab would not have gotten to the stage he got to. Demuren also stated that as part of the enhanced security measures put in place by the NCAA, The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), and other security agencies at the airports, only the president of Nigeria and his family, the Vice President and his family are exempted from being searched at airport.

He added that other categories of passengers are expected to undergo 100 per cent screening at the airports before they board and that any passenger who refuses to comply with the international regulation as provided for by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) would be denied boarding.

The NCAA boss further revealed that as part of the enhanced security measures FAAN has deployed Explosive Trace Detector (ETD) at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos. Foreign airlines and Nigerian carriers flying the United States route have been directed to install Explosive Detection System (EDS) in their aircraft, to enable the equipment detect if any passenger carrying explosives board the aircraft. On the 3D body scanners, the director general said Lagos Airport has installed the equipment, which could detect powdery substance, adding that any passenger who refuses to cooperate with the aviation security at airports will be taken to a separate room where the passenger will be screen thoroughly.

He hinted that in this room, the issue of human right does not coming. Nigeria , he said has passed ICAO audit, the United States Transport and Security Audit(TSA) and that the country has just concluded the Federal Aviation Administration(FAA) audit which will lead to Nigeria getting the Category 1 Status.