The Minority Caucus of the House of Representatives is demanding an investigation over the attack on the Kaduna International Airport by terrorists on Saturday.
The caucus in a statement by its Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, said that the development is another frightening commentary on the apparent collapse of our national security and intelligence gathering coordination.
“The Minority Caucus is deeply concerned and alarmed by the manifest lack of capacity by the APC administration to secure our nation to the extent that a strategic international airport in our country could be invaded and taken over by terrorists.
“Airports, especially international airports across the world, are usually highly secured areas. Therefore, the circumstances that allowed for the invasion of the Kaduna International Airport speak volumes about the failure of the APC administration”, the statement read in part.
Hon. Elumelu noted that the attack on the airport at the time when our roads, railways, and communities are being overrun by bandits, kidnappers, and invaders has heightened fear across the country as well as sent a very worrisome signal to the international community regarding the safety of our airports and the worsening insecurity in Nigeria.
The minority caucus called for an urgent comprehensive investigation into the remote and immediate circumstances leading to the apparent compromising of security at the airport to pave way for the eventual invasion by the terrorists.
“Our caucus urges the Federal Government to immediately beef up security in all our airports and other public convergence facilities in our country so as to forestall a re-occurrence of such terrifying attack,” the statement added.
A security guard attached to the Kaduna International Airport has been shot to death by gunmen suspected to be bandits.
The victim, Shehu Na’Allah, is a staff of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).
Confirming the incident to Channels Television, the manager of the Airport, Mrs Amina Salami, said that the bandits invaded the airport through the perimeter fence from a nearby forest at about 1pm on Saturday afternoon, and started shooting sporadically to scare the workers.
She further explained that a security guard with the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) who was patrolling around the runway was shot to death by the bandits.
The airport manager also disclosed that sound of gunshot attracted the attention of armed security operatives who arrived the scene, and were able to repel the bandits form gaining access into the main airport complex.
The attack also delayed a scheduled Lagos-bound aircraft from taking off from the Kaduna airport, while armed operatives of the Nigerian Airforce and other military personnel have taken over the innards and outer areas of the airport to fish out the bandits.
At least 12 people have been kidnapped by bandits following an attack on the Junior Staff Quarters of the Kaduna International Airport.
The incident occurred on Saturday, but the police authorities in the state have yet to confirm the attack.
One of the victims, who is a member of staff of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), was kidnapped along with his wife, five children, and three other persons who had visited them.
Elsewhere, the wife and child of an employee of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) were also kidnapped during the attack.
The Regional Manager of NIMET in the North Central, Sani Majidadi, confirmed the attack to Channels Television.
He noted that the gunmen invaded the junior staff quarters at the airport in the early hours of Saturday and broke into two apartments from where the missing persons were abducted.
Majidadi explained that the gunmen, in their large number, came through a bush from Ifira Village and cut the air-side perimeter fence before gaining access into the staff quarters.
He, however, stated that the prompt response of soldiers stationed along the Kaduna Airport Road prevented the bandits from kidnapping more people.
According to him, the armed men escaped into the bush upon hearing the gunshots from the security operatives.
The latest incident occurred barely a year after the staff of the airport came under heavy attack by bandits.
In 2020, several workers were kidnapped, and one person was killed by bandits, a situation that prompted the Kaduna State government to deploy troops along the Airport Road.
But Saturday’s attack has created fear for the workers of the airport who called on the Federal Government to urgently deploy more troops to the staff quarters and surrounding communities to forestall a reoccurrence of the incident.
They warned that the failure of the government to address the security challenges in the area would have a negative effect on the operations at the airport.
Flight operations have resumed at the Kaduna International Airport on Tuesday, July 21, 2020, amidst strict safety protocols.
The resumption of flight operations at the airport also recorded an impressive turnout of passengers.
The flight restart was kicked off with the arrival of Azman Air from Lagos to Kaduna at about 7:30 am, more than three months after the country’s air space was shut down for scheduled passenger service due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
At the airport’s departure hall, passengers were required to wear face masks, observe social distance and use hand sanitizers as thermometers were also used to check their body temperature.
Some of the passengers expressed satisfaction with the level of compliance in response to tackling COVID-19 and hoped the compliance will be sustained.
Following the approval for resumption of flight operations, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) released new guidelines for air travellers and other airport users.
The new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) according to the Manager of the Kaduna Airport and the Director of Aviation Security Services of FAAN, is aimed at protecting all passengers, staff and preventing further spread of disease.
The new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) at the airports entails that air passengers must ensure a minimum of one-point-five metres (1.5m) physical distancing, aviation medical/port health personnel will screen each passenger and ensure the use of face masks.
They are also required to wash their hands as often as possible, while all luggage must be disinfected before entry into the departure halls.
The Former Head, Chilled Foods LTD, Adetokunboh Obayan, says the Kaduna Airport is an inconvenience to Nigerians, because of the risk of life and property plying the road.
He expressed hope that the six weeks of Abuja Airport closure won’t exceed.
Mr. Obayan, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, said that one of the biggest challenges we have in Nigeria is that when we communicate decision, we communicate them as fait accompli and then justify them without recognizing the stress the people would have gone through.
U.S Travel Ban
Mr Obayan said government or leaders who stand to represent the nation need to look at how it affects people on the other side.
The Kaduna State Government has placed a ban on street hawking and begging, as well as commercial motorcycle activities in the state capital and environs.
This is the outcome of resolutions reached at the State Security Council meeting held on Tuesday at the Government House.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Samuel Aruwan, said the decision was reached so as to maintain law and order in the state, based on credible intelligence report of security threat to lives and properties.
He explained that the ban was with immediate effect and will remain in force till further notice, while asking the citizens to be law abiding, that is abide by this and other government directives.
“Kaduna State Security Council has announced the enforcement of subsisting restrictions on begging, street hawking and usage of motorcycles for commercial transport in Kaduna metropolis and other urban centres in the state.
“Credible reports at the disposal of security agencies have made it necessary to begin vigorous enforcement of the laws against street begging, hawking and the illegal business of motorcycle taxis, as well as safeguard lives and property.
“Law enforcement agencies have been directed to begin enforcement of the restrictions against begging, street hawking and Okadas/Achabas in Kaduna town and other cities in the state.
“The directive is with immediate effect and is based on cogent security concerns and the need to uphold law and order in the state.
“Citizens are urged to cooperate with the security agencies as they enforce the relevant laws; the directive is clear.
“No motorcycle is allowed to carry any passenger. Beggars and hawkers are also reminded by this notice to leave the streets, please,” the Governor’s spokesman urged.
The State Security Council meeting, which is usually chaired by Governor Nasir El-Rufai, and attended by his deputy, Heads of Security Agencies and traditional rulers in the state, is to appraise the security situation in Kaduna State.
The meeting deliberated on the situation report on Southern Kaduna where many attacks occurred in several communities which took a toll on lives and properties.
The Nigerian Air Force said it has increased air surveillance in Southern Kaduna and has also deployed 60 Special Forces to compliment the ongoing military operations aimed at restoring peace and security in the area.
The Commissioner of Police, Agyole Abeh, on his part said security operatives have taken the war against armed bandits into the forest where they are hiding, and some suspects have been arrested in connection with the attacks.
“Prior to our relocation to the place, you are already aware that the Commanders were directed to move to Kafanchan to ensure that peace returns to the area and today, we are happy to tell you that we have been able to restore peace to Kafanchan and environs.
“We are going to sustain this effort and we are appealing to members of the community too to assist us in achieving this objective.
“However, in recent time, we have been confronted with other problems regarding the crisis in Southern Kaduna, like I earlier said in the previous briefing that some people are actually fueling these crises.
“We have made arrest of people who write letters that are intended to incite people against one another. To say that, it has been written that an attack will be carried out in communities.
“We investigated some of these letters and we made arrest of persons, which in due time, we will parade before you so that you will see that some of these inciting speeches and letters are actually not even done by the perpetrators of the acts.
“We assure that we are going to continue to bring about law and order in that part of the state, with the efforts of the communities.
“As long as they want peace to reign, they must contribute their quota to try as much as possible to speak to the youths who are the principal actors in this violence, because the only way to peace is for the people themselves to be prepared to embrace peace, accommodate themselves and live together,” the Police Commissioner said.
Also, the Commander One Division Garrison, Brigadier General Samaila Isah, revealed that as part of the efforts in sustaining the peace in Southern Kaduna, the Nigerian Army would embark on a major exercise called ‘Exercise Harbin Kunama’ in the area.
On his part, the State Director of the Department of State Services, Mohammed Wakili, urged the public to ignore inciting messages from the social and traditional media, aimed at fueling the crisis in Southern Kaduna.
The Kaduna State Government said it was working with Federal Security Agencies that are taking proactive measures to flush out armed bandits and other criminal elements from every part of the state, especially now that the state is going to witness influx of people through the Kaduna Airport.
The Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, has expressed satisfaction with the progress of the ongoing rehabilitation work at the Kaduna Airport.
The governor stated this during an inspection visit to the airport, ahead of the planned closure of the Abuja Airport for repairs of its runway starting from March 8, 2017.
He was accompanied by the Managing Director of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr Saleh Dunoma, and that of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Mukhtar Usman.
Governor El-Rufai assured the passengers that would be using the Kaduna Airport during the period of adequate safety and security.
He also promised that all the roads and street lights to the airport would be rehabilitated before the end of February.
During the visit, the governor and some officials from the Ministry of Aviation inspected the ongoing work at the new terminal buildings and control tower.
He also urged the residents of the host community where the airport is located to cooperate with the government in its road expansion project, which he said would see to the relocation of their market.
Kaduna Is Safe and Secure
Governor El-Rufai disclosed to Channels Television at the end of the inspection that all arrangements have been put in place to ensure a hitch-free operation during the period.
However, he criticised those opposing the choice of Kaduna Airport as an alternative to Abuja, insisting that the state is safe and secure to host visitors that would arrive the state in March.
The governor further revealed that the state government had begun to repair the Nnamdi Azikiwe by-pass and the road linking the Kaduna Airport to the railway station.
He stated that the project is expected to be completed in good time, in order to ease movement of Abuja bound passengers to and from the airport.
Governor El-Rufai noted that adequate arrangement had also been made by the state government to provide buses to convey passengers to Abuja or to railway station, depending on the choice of the passengers involved.
In their remarks, the FAAN and NCAA bosses said that the Kaduna Airport has the capacity to contain the number of aircraft and passengers that would be using the airport upon the closure of Abuja Airport.
Work has resumed at the new terminal building of the Kaduna Airport, that would serve as an alternative for both local and international passengers.
This is ahead of the closure of the Abuja international airport for six weeks, starting from March 8, 2017.
Repairs are also being effected to the road linking the Kaduna airport to the city.
On Thursday, the Minister of State for Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika and Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, appeared before the Senate to explain the reason for the planned closure of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport.
Sirika, explained that it would be unsafe to continue to operate in the Abuja Airport, as there have been daily incidents on the runway.
The runway in the airport was constructed in 1982 with a lifespan of 14 years which has since been exceeded.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika and the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi have appeared before the Senate to explain the reason for the planned closure of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja.
The Senate invited both ministers on Tuesday to explain the reason for the closure and rather explore other options besides closing the airport.
Lawmakers are opposing the closure of the airport which they say would bring hardship on local and international travellers.
The Minister of State for Aviation Hadi Sirika, explained that to continue to operate, the Abuja airport will be unsafe and unreasonable as there are daily incidents on the runway.
Captain Sirika said that every flight plan always have alternate landing routes and Kaduna has always been the alternate for Abuja airport.
He also pointed out that most of the sections of the runway have collapsed and if multiple sections have collapsed, it means the entire runway has collapsed.
The runway in the Abuja airport was constructed in 1982 with a lifespan of 14 years which had been exceeded.
The Nigerian Government has restated its resolve to shut down the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja from March 8.
The government also reassured international and local airline operators, as well as air travellers of adequate security at the Kaduna airport.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, made the assertion on Thursday at a special stakeholders’ meeting on the temporary closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.
He emphasised the importance of the closure, pointing out the security and safety measures put in place to ease air transportation to and from Kaduna airport.
The Minister, who addressed all the concerns raised by the stakeholders, said that the closing of the airport was a painful decision taken in the interest of all stakeholders.
He said that the Federal Government remained committed to the safety of air travellers, stressing that the airport runway would be rehabilitated within six weeks.
In their separate remarks, the chairmen of Airline Operators of Nigeria and international airline operators, Mr Noggie Maggison and Mr Osho Joseph, expressed objections over the closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.
The British Deputy High Commissioner, Harriet Thompson, also raised concerns about the movement of passengers from Abuja to Kaduna.
The runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport was built in 1982 with a life span of 20 years.
Fourteen years after its lifespan expired, the airstrip has been adjudged unsafe for air travellers.
The Nigerian Senate has announced plans to investigate the renovation work in airports across the country.
The slow pace of work at the terminal building of some airports prompted the decision of the Senate Committee on Aviation.
The Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, made the announcement on Wednesday after inspecting the level of work at the airports in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital and Kaduna State.
He said that the officials of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the project consultants and contractors have been summoned to appear before the Senate Committee, to explain the reasons for the slow pace of work.
At the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja where the oversight visits began, Sen. Uzodinma, who noticed that some buildings were begging for renovation at the premises of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), however, expressed satisfaction with the general level of work.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, on his part reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to establish a national carrier.
The Committee also inspected a number of ongoing and completed projects at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology in Kaduna State.
Sen. Uzodinma told the Rector of the College, Captain Samuel Caulcrick, that the Senate would provide an effective oversight function on the aviation sector, to ensure that all facilities were in place for the smooth running of the sector.
With the discoveries made during the tour of Abuja and Kaduna airports, the Senate Committee on Aviation reaffirmed its commitment to visit other airports in the country, to ensure that Nigerian airports are well maintained for effective service delivery.