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Nigerians react to unveiling of new armed security unit at international airports

Nigerians have responded to the announcement by Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, regarding the inauguration of a newly established armed security outfit, known as the Aviation Security (AVISEC) unit.  

Launched on Monday, June 24, 2024, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, this unit aims to enhance security and address issues such as touting, begging, and extortion by federal agency staff at international airports nationwide. 

On social media, many Nigerians have expressed diverse opinions about this development. Some support the initiative, citing its potential to improve airport security, while others raise concerns about its effectiveness and suggest alternative solutions for handling airport-related issues. 

To gauge public sentiment, Nairametrics scoured social media for reactions. This article discusses the varied perspectives of Nigerians on the introduction of the AVISEC unit and its potential impact on airport security and operations. 

Here are some reactions of Nigerians on the introduction of armed AVISEC unit to international airports: 

Daniel Emeka (@realdanielemeka)   

Daniel Emeka, an X user under the username @realdanielemeka, responded to Minister of Aviation Festus Keyamo’s post about launching an armed security outfit at international airports.  

He questioned the use of heavy weaponry for minor offenders like touts and humorously suggested that using such arms could lead to proposing fighter jets to handle begging customs and immigration agents at check-in. 

“Machine and submachine guns to deal with touts?  

“Then how do you deal with custom and immigration agents constantly begging during check-in? Fighter Jets? 

“You think these ones are going to be immune to the rot in the system?,” his tweet read.

Oghogho (@OG_carter) 

Oghogho, an X user under the username @OG-carter, responded to a Nairametrics post about the introduction of the Aviation Security (AVISEC) unit at international airports. He argued that only a small fraction of AVISEC should be armed and that their training should prioritize managing minor civilian disputes and deescalating conflicts, rather than preparing for severe or violent scenarios.  

“IMO only a little percentage of AVISEC should be armed, train them to handle civilian squabbles and deescalate issues,” his post read. 

 

Deblak  (@Deblak26) 

Deplak, an X user with the username @Deblak26, commended the Aviation Minister’s introduction of the AVISEC unit but noted it might not fully resolve begging, extortion, bribery, and corruption at airports. He emphasized the importance of implementing strict checks, balances, and impartial enforcement of consequences for erring staff to effectively address these issues. 

“This is commendable; however, this may not address the issue of begging, extortion, bribery and corruption at our airports. The implementation of check and balances as well as consequences for erring staff must be enforced squarely without fear or favor,” his post read.

 

Michael Ben (@brentworld00) 

Michael Ben, @brentworld00 on X, responded to the Minister’s AVISEC inauguration announcement by doubting the new security outfit’s ability to stop military personnel from collecting money at Enugu airport gates, highlighting skepticism about its effectiveness against entrenched corruption 

“Oga Minister. Can these people stop the military men at Enugu airport collecting money at the airport gate before entering? I doubt if you ask me,” his tweet read. 

Mubby the Data Gee ???????? (@Femi_OfMainland) 

Mubby the Data Gee ???????? (@Femi_OfMainland) voiced concerns on X regarding the deployment of armed AVISEC personnel at Nigerian international airports. He questioned the necessity of assault rifles in such environments and highlighted apprehension about the potential negative impact these security measures could have on the airport atmosphere and passenger experience. 

“Why would you put men with assault rifles in our airport?  

“How does that align with good user experience?  

“Are they going to war?,” his tweet read. 

 

Alain Shonibare (@AlainShonibare) 

Alian Shonibare, Chief Executive Officer of At Your Service Property Management Nigeria Limited and @AlainShonibare on X, addressed concerns raised by TEJUOSHO (@adetejumi) about the introduction of armed AVISEC personnel at airports. He argued that having armed security is a common practice in European airports, suggesting it does not overly militarize the environment or create a war zone-like atmosphere.  

“It seems you haven’t been to European Airports recently bcos most of them have Armed Police personal at their airports,” his tweet read.

 

Emeka (@calebOkechukwu) 

In response to the Minister of Aviation’s announcement of the AVISEC unit on X, Emeka with the username, @calebOkechukwu, praised the initiative for reducing police workload and urged that necessary legal frameworks be submitted to the National Assembly to enable arrest and prosecution powers. 

“This is a good step. 

“Reducing the work load of the police. 

“Please put all legal frame work to the National Assembly so they can arrest and prosecute,” his post read. 

 

 

Chukwuemeka Azubuike (@zubidavies) 

Chukwuemeka Azubuike (@zubidavies) expressed on X his skepticism about curbing money solicitation by paramilitary operatives at airports. He implied that adding more security personnel to monitor their colleagues may not effectively address corruption or unethical practices.  

“I thought the issue was stopping paramilitary operatives from asking travellers for money. You went and brought their colleagues to check them,” his comment read.