Nigeria tightens security at Airports

Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- As the effects of 11 September aerial attacks on the US continues to reverberate, Nigeria has introduced measures aimed at tightening security at its airports nation-wide.
The measures, announced in Lagos Tuesday by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), include the restriction of entry into airport terminal buildings to passengers with valid travel documents.
FAAN's Spokesman, Sylvester Oputa, said passengers would be subjected to extra body and hand luggage search, in addition to machine screening, while all vehicles, except airport operational vehicles, would be denied access to the apron.
"All apron passes issued to vehicles other than those mentioned above have been cancelled just as issuance of apron passes have been stopped forthwith," he said.
Oputa said "on-duty card carriers are restricted to areas of service or access," warning that those who flout the directive would be arrested.
He said airport protocol officers would also be restricted to their areas of operation.
Though no immediate reasons were given for the introduction of the measures, it is believed they are linked to the heightened state of security in the African nation following the terrorist attacks in the US.
Senior Nigerian police officers met in Abuja last week to consider ways of enhancing national security in the face of world-wide terrorist alert, while security at foreign missions have been beefed up in the country.
The federal government has also tightened security around the country's oil installations in the Niger Delta to head off possible attack on them.
"We have stationed our men around these installations," said the Flag Officer Commanding the Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ekpenyong Okpo.
Oil is the engine of the Nigerian economy.
Analysts say Nigeria's support for the ongoing US-led reprisal attacks on Afghanistan, which harbours Osama bin Laden, the main suspect in the 11 September attacks, may have angered some fundamentalist groups in the country, almost equally divided between Moslems and Christians.
There have been demonstrations in support of bin Laden and against the US, in parts of Moslem-dominated northern Nigeria.

16 october 2001 19:50:00




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