The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has announced that it will consider the request by American carrier, Delta Airlines, to manually check some of its passengers going to the US, following the full implementation of the Executive Order issued by acting President Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
SaharaReporters' visit to Lagos' Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), on Friday, showed that all the airlines and security agencies have started complying with the Executive Order. The order directed that the number of screening counters at the airport is reduced.
Managing Director, FAAN, Mr. Saleh Dunoma, explained that the agency will look into the request of Delta Airlines to manually screened some of the passengers traveling on its flights.
Delta Airlines had, during the week, resisted the full implementation of the Executive Order, insisting that the US policy allows at least 25 per cent of passengers going to the United States to be checked manually.
The airline argued that the Transport Security Administration (TSA), a US agency provides some level of manual checks by any airline flying to the US.
It insisted that its staff would manually check some of the passengers, threatening to stop the boarding of Nigerian passengers from the airport. The issue was resolved by the FAAN management several hours later.
Mr. Dunoma said that his agency will allow the airline to carry out manual checks on some of its passengers as long as such does not violate global industry standards.
“It is not anything peculiar. They want to do certain checks; we will tell them where to do the checks. We are not stopping anybody from checking anything, so long as it is in line with the global standard of practice. The Executive Order does not stop that. We will handle Delta Airlines' issue,” Dunoma explained.
During SaharaReporters' visit to the terminal on Friday, it was observed that security desks put by each airline's counter had been removed, but passengers still had their luggage screened at the terminal entrance.
After the terminal entrance screening, passengers then queued up for profiling by airlines’ counter staff, who weighed their check-in and hand luggage before they proceeded for boarding.
Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, FAAN's acting General Manager, Corporate Communications, said, in a statement, that the agency was satisfied with the compliance of all stakeholders, especially security agencies, with the Executive Order.
FAAN said that the order has led to the disappearance of physical check tables at the departure hall of the terminal, while desks belonging to Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) were also removed following the last screening by the agency’s Aviation Security (AVSEC) personnel.
Mrs. Yakubu added that Mr. Dunoma expressed the agency’s satisfaction while inspecting the terminal to ascertain the level of compliance by participating agencies.
The FAAN Managing Director said checks are now being conducted at the appropriate locations by different agencies, noting and this has created a tidy hall.
"This has improved the ambiance of the departure hall. Of course, we have some issues that have to do with the first day normally in any operations. We are trying to resolve that. The desks that have been there for manual search are no longer there. The checks are being done at appropriate locations and this has created a tidy hall. This has improved the ambiance of the departure hall," Mr. Dunoma said in a statement.
He added that FAAN has asked the management of the airport to come up with a complete and comprehensive report with the issues emanating from the implementation of the Executive Order, so the agency can proffer solutions to them.