Abuja - An Aviation Security official at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, said on Monday that new security measures had been introduced at the airport.
Retired Col. James Oladipo, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Chief Security Officer at the airport, made the development known in Abuja during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
He said the new security measures taken by FAAN included the gathering of data for the identification of workers at the airport, introduction of a new gate pass and ban on motorcycles.
Oladipo said other measures were the total eradication of touts and hawkers as well as the screening of passengers and airport users at the gate before entry.
``One of the measures carried out was to eradicate touts and hawkers completely through our `Operation Flush Out the Touts’ that was carried out in collaboration with the police.
``Another one we have succeeded in is that all the parking lots at the airport have been designated and traffic flow has greatly improved; we have introduced a new gate pass to control the influx of people to the airport.
``We have equally ensured that all airport workers, including concessioners, car hire dealers, shop owners, airline staff, government agencies’ staff and all others are captured in the on-going identification process,’’ Oladipo said.
He said the aviation security and other security agencies, such as the army, police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps and Federal Road Safety Corps, to ensure improved security at the airport.
Oladipo also said that sniffer dogs operated three times a week to check likely security threats at the airport, especially around the perimeter fence.
Oladipo said between January and March, 71 persons were arrested for touting and hawking, in addition to six motorcycles.
He said there was a report of car theft during the period.
``The car theft occurred at 9 a.m. and the owner of the car did not report it until about 4 p.m. Our investigation revealed that the car doors were left open while the owner was out of the car,’’ he said.
NAN learnt that although the activities of touts and hawkers have reduced at the airport, the hawkers have devised new strategies to carry out their businesses.
Malam Idris Danladi, a hawker of dried meat, called Kilishi, at the airport, said hawkers usually held polythene bags to indicate that they sold the product.
``People like to buy Kilishi from me but there is no provision for poor people like me to sell. Once we wave this polythene bag at customers, they will beckon on us and we will bring the amount they need to their car or close to their bag.
``This is what I depend on to feed my family and train my children, I want to raise my children and pray that they will enter the plane in future,’’ Danladi said.