Crisis was averted Tuesday at the departure hall of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos between officials of Delta Airlines and aviation security personnel over the implementation of Executive Order at the airport.
The cause of the crisis, it was learnt, was the insistence of physical screening of passengers and their luggage by Delta Airlines, a development that contradicts the directive of government on the implementation of Executive Order.
The Federal Government as part of the implementation of Executive Order had directed all airlines to remove screening counters at the airport for the profiling and screening of passengers.
A source hinted that aviation security personnel belonging to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) confronted officials of Delta Airlines on why they will not comply with the directive of government.
A source hinted that Delta Airlines officials held their ground insisting the physical screening of passengers and their luggage by the airline was a directive from the home office in Atlanta.
The airline it was learnt threatened to stop processing boarding protocol for Nigerian passengers if they are not allowed to carry out physical screening of passengers.
Confirming the development, FAAN, spokesperson, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu said airport officials and Delta Airlines are meeting to resolve the impasse.
She said though it is mandatory for all airlines operating in Nigeria to comply with the implementation of Executive Order, she wondered why Delta Airlines will insist on the physical screening of passengers.
Yakubu said even with the Executive Order, manual screening of passengers cannot be totally eliminated at the airport.
Meanwhile, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Tuesday commenced the implementation of executive order issued by the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo.
With the implementation, the agencies have now harmonized their screening at the airport departure hall.
Managing Director of FAAN, Engr. Saleh Dunoma, who spoke after a meeting with all the agencies at the international wing of MMA, said “there would be no more multiple checks and that is why we have come together”.
Osinbajo had last month issued the executive order that would enhance ease of doing business at ports of entry.
The FAAN MD said all the agencies had stuck together to effectively and seamlessly implement the order without compromising on security procedures at the airport.
He said henceforth agencies would check luggage of passengers at designated areas and not within the departure halls as was the case before.
Dunoma stated that the authority had chosen to commence the implementation with MMA, which is the busiest and the most visited airport in the country, adding that the implementation would be extended to other airports.
He said, “Everybody is ready to key into this committee that is set up for the implementation and everybody is contributing positively. From all indications, all hands are on deck to make sure that the executive order is implemented.”
“I don’t envisage any problem in its implementation. We will support the agencies when the need arises by giving them additional facilities depending on what they are requesting for.
“I just came out of the meeting. I heard some of the things they are talking about, issues being raised as a result of the implementation of the executive order. I gave them my words that I will support them with whatever issues they might have as a result of the implementation. I also emphasized that as a result of the implementation of the executive order there would be no compromise”.
In a related development, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said Tuesday that it has put in place adequate measures to ensure full and sustained compliance with the Federal Government’s Executive Order (EO) at our airports.
On its part, NCAA has prepared a standard document outlining its core functions and services, appropriate charges, fees, licenses, waivers and other tax-related processes in adherence to the Executive Order (EO).