Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Monday approved N3.23 billion for the procurement of baggage scanners in five international airports of Abuja, Lagos, Enugu, Port-Harcourt and Kano.
Briefing newsmen at the end of the FEC meeting held at the Council Chambers of the State House, Abuja, Aviation and Aerospace Development Minister, Festus Keyamo, while speaking on the procurement of the scanning machines, said “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 through 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.”
Asked for the cost of the machines to be customized, Keyamo said it would cost the country N3.23 billion.
The minister equally disclosed that a memo for the signing of a Bilateral Air Service Agreement with the Republic of Guyana was approved by FEC.
He also gave reasons why the suspended Nigeria Air project conceived by the administration of ex-President Muhammadu Buhari could not be continued by the present government.
On what to expect from the suspended Air Nigeria project embarked upon by the immediate past administration, Keyamo explained that the.project was meant to create monopoly as conceived by the Buhari’s administration.
According to him, the government’s plan was to crash air fares by waiving taxes for the proposed airline.
He explained that waiving taxes for Nigeria Air while not doing same for other privately owned ones would have created a monopoly in the system and run other operators out of the market.
This, he said, would have led to disequilibrium in the system.
According to him, the panel which investigated the Nigeria Air project discovered so many irregularities which he promised to talk about at the appropriate time.