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Drug syndicate threat… New Abuja Airport terminal has over 50 CCTV cameras

THE new terminal of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, has over 50 Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras to guide against illegal activities that might be carried out by insiders.

This was disclosed by Hajara Musa, the International Terminal Manager at the Abuja Airport, during a chat on Tuesday shortly after the inaugural flight of British Airways at the airport.

Reports have been rife about a drug syndicate across Nigeria’s international airports which specialises in planting illicit drugs on luggage belonging to innocent passengers. This has prompted calls for more security measures to be adopted especially across the international airports to check the ugly development.

Musa said the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) was not leaving anything to chance hence the efforts to guarantee 100 per cent security in the airport. She added that so far, operations in the newly constructed international terminal has been very smooth.

“Having identified the risk attached to insider threat, we have over 500 cameras already installed and we are still going to put more,” Musa said.

“Everyday we discover an open area and we call the attention of the contractor on the need to empower the place with a camera, and there is always somebody at the control room who will alert you immediately he sees anything that is abnormal going on.

“There are no blind spots around the baggage area because it is full of cameras, personnel are at alert, the control room is at alert and we are moving round and round the clock. We are on ground.

“Before the commencement of this project, there were series of facilitation meetings, security meetings, safety meetings. So we were already prepared that people would comply and so far so good, they are (complying).”

President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the new International Terminal Building of the Abuja Airport in December 2018 but it became operational in January this year.

Several innocent Nigerians have been arrested in foreign countries as a result of the activities of the drug cartel, some have been sent to jail while a few others have been executed. One of such victims, Zainab Aliyu, was released by the Saudi Arabian authorities on Tuesday.

Aliyu was arrested in December 2018 after a banned drug, Tramadol, was found in a piece of luggage that was checked-in in her name. Her release came after a public outcry prompted President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Attorney General of the Federation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to wade into the matter.

The leadership of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), as well as those of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), had promised to come up with new measures to boost security at airports. 

Aside from the installation of more CCTV cameras at strategic locations, airlines will be required to issue passengers a form in which they would declare how many documents they were travelling with and what they contain.

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