A new report has shown how the Lagos airport security is being compromised by faulty equipment and uncertified personnel.
Security at the Domestic Terminal of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, appears compromised as faulty security equipment are being used to screen bags of travelers making use of the airport.
It was also discovered that security screeners deployed by the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria to MMA Terminal Two are not certified by the National Civil Aviation Authority to carry out the screening.
SaharaReporters had previously reported how a Nigerian woman bypassed all security points at the international wing of the airport and attempted to sneak into a United States of America-bound Delta Air Line. She was, however, arrested by the security of the airplane, as she was about to board the plane.
SaharaReporters reliably gathered that of the not less than 629 staff of FAAN Aviation Security at the Lagos airport, about 85 security personnel are NCAA screeners certified.
Of the 85 screeners, about half of them parades expired licenses as FAAN had refused to send the security personnel for a refresher course to renew their license.
Bi-Courtney Rejects FAAN Unlicensed Security Screeners
Bi-Courtney is the managing company of MMA Terminal Two. Bi-Courtney, as it is popularly called hasDr. Wale Babalakin, a Nigerian businessman as its Chairman.
In an internal memo sent to Aviation Security department of FAAN, Bi-Courtney flagrantly rejected the deployment of NCAA uncertified security screeners to its terminal to man their screening machines.
Bi-Courtney threatened FAAN that if it refuses to send its staff for certification, Bi-Courtney would be left with no choice than to make use if its certified security screeners.
The memo, according to sources, forced FAAN Aviation Security to hastily begin the renewal process of licensing of its security personnel.
The source said, “Bi-Courtney some weeks back threatened to take over the screening of passengers themselves because they have NCAA certified security screeners.
“As a result of this, FAAN are hurriedly certifying some of its staff in order not to make Bi-Courtney carry out the threat. Currently, the third batch of FAAN Security is on the certification training with NCAA.”
About 59 security personnel have successfully renewed their license adding to the 85 with NCAA certified license while some another batch are undergoing training.
FAAN Aviation Security Forced To Work Overtime Without Pay
The certification process of security staff by FAAN has once again led to the overstretching of its staff.
It was reliably gathered that Aviation Security staff were forced to work for 12 hours to make up for the shortage of staff while others are ongoing certification by NCAA.
A source at the airport that spoke to SaharaReporters said, “The process of renewing the screening license led to FAAN withdrawing their certified screeners from different terminals to be deployed to MMA2 for the essence of screening.
“Even at that, FAAN lacks sufficient certified screeners and were forced to collapse their shift from four to three, meaning that staff security work for 12 hours instead of 6 hours.”
It was further gathered that according to the condition of service of FAAN, staff are meant to work for not more than six hours shifting daily and an extra hour of work would be compensated with extra pay. However, this is not the case as staff are not given any extra payment or any form of incentive for the double of hours they are forced to work.
“This is not the first time Aviation Security staff will be doing overtime. There was a time staff were forced to work for 12 hours for a whole year and they did not get any dime as extra payment.
“FAAN aviation securities, because of the shortage of staff, work double the hours they are meant to work. Some also work longer hours on the x-ray machine and this is damaging to their health.
“According to FAAN condition of service, staff are not supposed to be subjected to overtime without pay with normal shift rotation pegged at six hours.”
SaharaReporters further gathered that staff are not happy with the development but they have no means of expressing their displeasure to the management as it could lead to sanctioning or suspension.
A source said, “This is a normal procedure at the Aviation Security field officers department when there is an issue and also when there are foreign inspectors and audit to cover up the inadequacies of the management and shortage of manpower.
“Staffs have been complaining of the bad working condition and over time they are being subjected to.
“Sometimes ago, one of our colleague, Usman Bello, slumped and died while on duty and it was widely reported in the media.”
The source said they hope this process does not take long so they can fall back to our normal six hours shift.
“We also want them to be paying us whenever we work extra hours as this is the stipulated law in our condition of service and federal government guideline.”
Bi-Courtney Uses Faulty Screening Machine
Bi-Courtney parades itself as one of the best terminals in West and Central Africa.
One of the qualities of the terminal written on the About MMA2 reads, “ We are the first choice because of our state-of-the-art facilities, soft services, excellent airline and passenger services, seamless passenger facilitation that gives our customers an unforgettable experience and fantastic relationship management.”
Contrary to the above, SaharaReporters reliably gathered that the astrophysics and other x-ray machines being used at MMA2 are not in good condition as some display wrongly while some electrocute the operators.
A report of the machines MMA2 is using, written by the operators and was obtained by SaharaReporters revealed that most of the screening machines are faulty and are not serviceable.
“Most of the x-ray machines are not in good condition. They experience an intermittent breakdown at the central passenger screening point. Operators experience electric shock and systems malfunction.
“X-ray machines available at the Baggage Hall, Cargo Facility, Escravos Crew Centre and Arrivals are also faulty, as they breakdown intermittently. In summary, the machines are not serviceable for screening.”
It was also gathered that Bi-Courtney and other domestic terminals at the Lagos Airport do not have Explosive Trace Detection Machine.
Also at the cargo, Bi-Courtney does not make use of ETD and cargos are being transported on a passenger flight, which puts the passengers on board at risk.
FAAN, Bi-Courtney Keeps Mum
All efforts to speak with the spokesperson of FAAN and Bi-Courtney proved abortive as they both evaded speaking with our correspondent that contacted them.
An email was sent to Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, General Manager, Corporate Affairs of FAAN, she declined to respond to the email sent to her neither did she acknowledged the email.
A call was put through to Mrs. Victoria Shin-Aba, MMIA Terminal Manager. She asked to be called back but subsequent calls put to her were left unanswered.
However, Mr. Sam Adurogboye, General Manager, Public Relations of the NCAA, said all security staff working at the Bi-Courtney terminal were certified personnel but didn’t clarify if they are NCAA screener certified or not.
He said: “There are screening going on quite alright manned by the appropriate officers and they are working. However, there are some equipment that are not in use maybe because they didn’t have enough hand to man them not because they are not serviceable. However, the one that are in use, the screening is going and they are in order.
“There is nothing that they do without certification, the only thing we do, what we call oversight as our job is the certificate we issue. If there are violations, it’s the certificate that we can withdraw or suspend. We don’t have any other means of carrying out the oversight without certification. If somebody is not certificated, he cannot be of service.
“Any airline, when they recruit personnel, they sit for exam, pass and get our license. They cannot be in use. If airline employ pilot, cabin crew and all the rest, without our license, they cannot be in use, it is the same practice all over the world.
It is not possible for somebody that is not certificated to be in operation as the “only thing we use in regulation is the license we issue".