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2019: Keeping the airports away from politics

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2019 Air Traffic Murtala Muhammed AirportNigerian politicians are, here again, no thanks to the forthcoming 2019 general elections when Nigerians are expected to use their power through the voters’ cards to vote in those they believe can provide the dividends of democracy they need.

Therefore, as the intrigues synonymous with all important necessity thicken, the politicians cutting across all parties as expected to have started engaging in all manner of razzmatazz to either genuinely or otherwise convince the average Nigerians to curry their votes.

Agreed that there is nothing wrong with the politicians engaging in political antics as it is the norms when elections are around the corner, but as normal as election razzmatazz is supposed to be, what, however, makes it abnormal is the manner Nigerian politicians go about it in absolute disregard to the rules guarding and guiding the fundamental principles of advancement of the country at the expense of other national components.

This brings to the fore the recent alarm raised by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) regarding the violation of safety rules by some politicians at the Sultan Abubakar lll International Airport runway last week.

According to the report carried earlier by an online medium, some members of a political party who had besieged the airport in a bid to welcome one of their leaders into the state violated the airport rules against restriction of movement to sterile areas.

FAAN in its reactions described the action as a gross violation of the security and safety arrangements at the airport, as thousands of the political loyalists were said to have violently accessed restricted areas at the airport, breaking down the airport fence in the process and resisting all security machineries in place.

The authority in a statement issued by its General Manager, Corporate Communications, Mrs Henriette Yakubu declared “However, our team of aviation security officers were able to curtail the situation and normalcy was restored at the airport. The airport environment is a highly regulated environment and should be seen as such.

Though this gross abuse of airport facilities by the political class has been in existence for ages particularly whenever an electioneering campaign kicked off with the politicians displaying absolute disregard to aviation rules regarding unlawful interference.

It is on records that these politicians in the course of the flagrant abuse of airport facilities; apart from creating unnecessary atmosphere for genuine airport users including foreign nationals, engage in other uncivilised things that often pose danger to safety rules such as gaining access to restricted parts of the airport.

This act of illegality has not even exempted the international airports with the Murtala Muhammed Airport been the most abused by the politicians as they troop in with reckless abandon to welcome their leaders.

The time has, however come for this crop of human beings to realise that airport vicinities abhor such unruly distraction in the name of politics.

Airport environments have zero tolerance to anything that will not add any value to it and aviation safety and security in line with the international standard and recommended practice.

Though the scenario that unfolded at the Sokoto airport last week was one of the numerous experiences suffered across the country’s airports, the time has, however come for the politicians to show absolute precaution towards the sensitive nature of the airports.

For the umpteenth time, the airport environment is a domain that requires no local politicking but being managed in line with international rules.

Allowing politicians of all shades and motives to troop into the sterile part of any airport loosely is an invitation to terrorism and danger as any undesirable element may capitalise on this loophole to unleash deadly havoc on any airport.

Therefore, the Federal Government through the National Assembly should put aside any political sentiment by coming up with a law that forbids the use of the airport for political gathering.

Besides, the relevant aviation authorities should henceforth sensitise the politicians on the need for them to restrict their political razzmatazz to places like stadium and their party secretariats.

Let the country’s airports not be used as a political ground as the 2019 general elections draw near and henceforth, any political party whose supporters violate the airport rules as regards restriction of movement or damage any airport facility should not only be dragged to the court of law but be made to pay serious fine. Airports belong to all Nigerians and not to any political class.

The post 2019: Keeping the airports away from politics appeared first on Tribune.

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