Calls for stringent measures to curbs excesses of operatorsBy Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
A civil rights activist and social crusader, Patriot Patrick Eholor, weekend, expressed worry over alleged poor security system at nation’s airports following security breaches.
Eholor who spoke with Vanguard on alleged security breaches said the complacency displayed by officials of some airlines that puts other persons using the airports for business and traveling activities to risk, which also exposes national security to criminal elements to take advantage of.
According to him greed for money and extortion responsible for the threat he personally witnessed as air tickets were bought with forged names and resold by some airline workers over the counter between N140, 000 and N200, 000 during the Easter celebration.
He also decried the fact that airlines allowed passengers without valid identity cards to board their airplanes, which in other climes passengers are made to present valid national identity cards before passengers are allowed to board.
He also pointed out that office identity cards could be forged and presented by terrorists after paying for tickets then allowed to board, which they can hijack an airplane and put the lives of passengers at risk.
He said: “I was supposed to return to Benin with a one-way ticket from Abuja after the Easter celebration. When I called to book for my return ticket from one of the airlines, I was surprised to hear that a ticket that was sold for N35, 000 was now being sold for N140, 000 and N200, 000.
“I was made to understand that these ticket racketeers intentionally and criminally compiled ghost passengers’ names to buy all available tickets and told other genuine passengers that there is no more tickets for sale.
“They intentionally create artificial scarcity but make way to sell at exorbitant amounts. I am afraid because they resell these tickets bearing forged names to other travelers, which anybody including terrorists could buy from them and carry out their evil intention to jeopardise the lives of others on board.
“Another fact is that many people board airplanes without valid identity cards and this must be investigated to stop it. Government should stop this by making it mandatory for travelers to present valid National Identity Card or international passport before passengers are allowed to board and not just office ID cards that can be forged and presented.
“I am also raising the alarm because there are other nationals in our country who also board and operate these airplanes, and we should not risk their lives. Government should wake up to its responsibility as a regulator to really address the excesses perpetrated by airline operators in this country.
“I want the Minister of Aviation and National Security Adviser including the Department of State Security, Nigerian Police Force, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, and Military to urgently tackle the weak security system at the nation’s airports which are gateways into our country.
“We should avoid what happened on September 11 in US as a country, and the earlier and swift action taken to stop these activities of airlines the better for us. Let us be smarter as a nation than the terrorists. ”
He also added that as a frequent traveler on air he has observed that security at the airports has loopholes that need attention urgently as people access the airports easily, which he advised the government to deploy technology and change the security architecture at the airports to forestall any security breach.
Vanguard News Nigeria
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