FG deploys AIG to MMIA over terror threat

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In response to the recent terror threats in the country, the federal government has deployed an Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Mr. Danjuma Muhammad, to take charge of affairs at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) Police Command in Lagos.

This development is coming as the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has reaffirmed the sanctity of the recently released 2017 statistical data on the aviation industry on passenger traffic and revenues earned by both domestic and international airlines.

A Commissioner of Police (CP) had always been appointed in the past to take charge of the airport.

A commissioner of police, Mr. Abdullahi Ali, had just retired and would be replaced by Muhammad.

Newsmen gathered that the security of the airport is critically important to government, and that explained the move by the authorities to the assign a superior officer in the face of threats by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to carry out attacks on the air transport sector.

Spokesman of the command, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Joseph Alabi, confirmed the development to journalists yesterday in Lagos.

Alabi said the deployment of AIG to take over the helms of affairs at the country’s busiest airport was aimed at improving safety and security of travellers and other airport users, adding that Muhammad is an experienced officer who has served in many commands and formations prior to his transfer to the Lagos airport.

“The transfer of a very senior ranking officer to the airport command is very strategic and the objective is to ensure that nothing untoward occurs here.  The AIG has since assumed duties and has warned officers attached to the command that he would not tolerate laziness, idleness and dereliction of duties,” he said.

Alabi said the AIG had also issued a warning to touts parading themselves within the airport environment, and threatened them with prosecution if apprehended.

On the threat by terrorists, he said Muhammad assured travellers and other airport users that adequate measures had been put in place for their safety and security.

“The command is working with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and other sister security agencies to ensure that our airport is safe.  Our advice is that travellers and other airport users should remain vigilant, law abiding and also comply with the new security measures at the airport environment, “Alabi said.

In another development, the NCAA has defended the sanctity of the recently released statistical data on the aviation industry on passenger traffic and revenues.

In a recent presentation at the Aviation Round Table (ART) breakfast forum in Lagos, the regulatory authority said domestic and international airlines operating in Nigeria sold tickets worth N505.2 billion in 2017.

The regulatory body said it arrived at the figures after harmonisation with FAAN and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), which also keep record of passenger movement and revenues generated.

In a statement issued on yesterday in reaction to the doubts on the authenticity of the figures by industry stakeholders and signed by its spokesman, Sam Adurogboye, NCAA said the figures released were verifiable and no amount of push and shove “can cast aspersion on the agency’s figures.”

“The system and processes of generating and gathering data are in line with best practices and international standards. All stakeholders and the public are therefore advised to resist all attempts to create confusion and cast doubts on the figures. This is clearly a result of crass ignorance and the purveyors being too clever by half,” the agency said.

It explained that the process of generating data is as stipulated in the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) 2015 Part 18.12.5, which states that “all domestic and international airlines operating in Nigeria shall forward to the Authority through an electronic platform provided by the Authority, all relevant documents such as flown coupons, passenger or cargo manifests, air waybills, load sheets, clients’ service invoices and other documents necessary for accurate billing within 48 hours after each flight.”

In addition, as part of the billing requirements, the Authority said it collects billable data from airlines, photocopy of flown coupons and Post Departure Manifest (PDM) of international flight operations.

“All these are International Air Transport Association (IATA) documents which NCAA cannot influence,” the statement said.

According to the agency, “The Flown Coupons contain specific information required by IATA before billings are done and issued.” “These are Ticket Number, Name of Passenger, Ticket Sales Charge (TSC). It is noteworthy that the prerequisite NCAA 5 per cent TSC paid by passengers is indicated on the ticket. These data are warehoused by NCAA and can be verified,” NCAA said.

NCAA also explained that the domestic billing process requires the airline to submit to the Authority its Passenger Departure Manifest (PDM) immediately after every flight departure, noting that it is from the recorded fares that 5 per cent TSC is calculated and the Automated Integrated System (AIS) therefore ensures authenticity between NCAA server and airlines.

“Similarly, the process of billing five per cent Cargo Sales Charge (CSC) requires the airline to submit airways bill in accordance to the Nig.CARs.The weight and rate stated on the airway bill is used in the calculation of the CSC.

“However, it is pertinent to state that the statistics available for 5 per cent CSC is not the same as the harmonised figures. Cargo data captures the total weight of the cargo (import and export), while NCAA chargeable weight is on export cargo only. Please note that foreign airlines with Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) do not pay royalty on cargo airlift, though the cargo weights are captured but not billable,” the statement added.

On international flights, NCAA said IATA provides support via Billing Settlement Plan (BSP) through its Clearing House, verification and direct collection of 5 per cent TSC, remarking that all the above processes attest to the sanctity of the agency’s figures