The Federal Executive Council on Monday approved a contract sum of N3.23 billion for the supply and installation of narcotic and customised explosive detection screening systems in five international airports across the country.
Festus Keyamo, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development made this known while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the weekly council meeting, presided over by President Bola Tinubu, at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Minister stated that the detection screening systems will be built with a drive view mechanism at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja; Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos; Port Harcourt Airport, Rivers State; Mallam Aminu Kano Airport, Kano and Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
According to him: “The two memos that Aviation presented today were approved. One is a memo for the signing of a bilateral air service agreement with the Republic of Guyana. We have entered into an agreement with Guyana and they have been very anxious to have direct flights from Guyana to Nigeria.
“This agreement was entered into way back in 2014, with the administration at that time, but you understand that international agreements, which are treatises, don’t come into force until their internal processes are completed in both countries.
“Our own internal process here involves a process of ratification of the treatise, so if I go out and sign an agreement with a country now, it doesn’t come into force; it doesn’t bind my country until I come back and then it goes through a process of ratification by the relevant authorities.
“In some cases, where you have to now domesticate it as a law, it goes to the National Assembly to pass into law, in line with the provisions of the constitution. In some other cases, it is just the executive that ratifies. In this case, it does not need domestication; it doesn’t need legislation; it only needs ratification by the executive, which is done today. So that is for the memo regarding the bilateral service agreement with the Republic of Guyana.
“The second one is what Nigerians will be interested in because, since I came to office, we have been inundated with complaints of the harrowing experiences that passengers go through at the airports where they have to physically search their bags. I’m sure you all know about that and it’s been really getting under the skin of Nigerians.
“You’ll see various agencies lined up: NDLEA, they’ll say open your bag; Immigration, they’ll say open your bag; Customs, they’ll say open your bag; EFCC, they’ll say open your bag, and they will dip their hands in your bag.
“So we thought we should do something like you have the TSA in America, where you have detection machines. So when they pass your bags through the machines, they detect explosives or anything else, and that’s the end of the search.
“So it’s for the approval of the award of contract for the supply and installation of customised explosive and narcotic detection screening systems with remote and dual view for the international airports of Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt, and Enugu.
“Luckily enough, the Council saw the need for this kind of equipment in order to relieve Nigerians of such experiences and it was graciously approved by Council.”