By Egena Sunday Ode
The Federal Executive Council on Monday approved the award of N3.23 billion contract for the purchase of customised narcotic detection screening systems, with remote and dual view for the international airports of Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu.
The equipment when installed would save Nigerians the embrassment of being frisked at airports under the pretext of screening.
Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo, disclosed this to newsmen while briefing them on the outcome of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
The minister described as untidy, a situation whereby all manners of agencies, including Customs, NDLEA, Immigration and EFCC among others would insist on screening passengers at the airport separately.
On the approved memo which his ministry presented to FEC, Keyamo said: “It’s 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 throuhg the machines, they detect explosives or any other thing 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 customized 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.”
He disclosed that the Aviation ministry also presented a memo on the signing of a Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) with the Republic of Guyana, a South American country.
He said although the agreement predated the present administration, government had chosen to implement it in view of the anxiety of the South American country to have direct flights to Nigeria.
“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 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 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, doesn’t need legislation, it only needs the ratification by the executive, which was done today. So that is for the memo regarding the bilateral service agreement with the Republic of Guyana,” the minister said.