By Oluwatosin Adeniran
The recent crash of EgyptAir flight MS804 that crashed into the Mediterranean has once again called for caution and vigilance in the Nigerian aviation sector.
Data from the final moments before EgyptAir flight MS804 crashed into the Mediterranean suggests an “internal explosion” tore through the right side of the aircraft.
Investigators trying to determine whether the aircraft was brought down by terrorism or a technical fault are poring over a series of warnings indicating smoke filled the cabin shortly before it disappeared from the radar.
French authorities confirmed that smoke detectors went off aboard the flight a few minutes before it crashed but said it was not clear what caused the smoke or fire and other parts of the data log suggested that windows on the right side of the cockpit were blown by an explosion inside the aircraft.
Also, another Metrojet flight 9268 crashed on 31 October, 2015 shortly after taking off from Sharm el Sheikh on a charter flight to St Petersburg. There were no survivors among the 224 passengers and crew aboard the Airbus A321.
An investigator, Kremlin had insisted that an improvised explosive device was responsible.
Another investigator Alexander Bortnikov, director of Russia’s Federal Security Service, told President Putin he could say “with confidence” terrorists were responsible: “According to our experts, a self-made explosive device equivalent to up to 1kg of TNT was set off on board.”
The militant group Isis claimed responsibility for downing the jet, saying an operative had planted explosives concealed in a soft-drink can aboard the plane. But apart from releasing a picture of the device it said was used, no further evidence was presented.
In the wake of the crash, UK and US intelligence agencies said it was “highly likely” that a bomb – probably planted at Sharm el Sheikh Airport – had brought down the aircraft. So strong was the belief that British airlines were banned from flying to the resort until security is improved.
So, with the rate of constant terror attack in the aviation sector globally, there is need for relevant aviation agencies in Nigeria to step up its security consciousness and be on the alert leaving no stone unturned.
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) which is incharge of security should wpartner other security agencies in the country to examine people with security clearance that get access to restricted areas of airports across the country.
Screenings also should not be limited to checking an employee that has no criminal convictions and does not appear on a terror watch list but everyone irrespective of position because no one can be trusted.
Stopovers that will make aircraft on ground a little over an hour and will give little time for security staff to carry out through security checking should be encouraged.
Security threat to the aviation industry is a global phenomenon and with the insurgency in the North East getting to its tail end, Boko Haram will be finding ways to make statements of relevance and instilling fears in the the people.
Therefore, background checks should also be done on all Aviation Security (AVSEC) to know anyone with radical or fundamental background who can wreck havoc and rubbish the gains made over the years in Nigeria aviation industry.