Nigerian Government, through the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) in collaboration with the Government and people of the United Kingdom (UK) convened a workshop titled, “Aviation Threats and Counter-Drones” to explore the threats posed by drones and terrorists to aviation security in the country.
The National Coordinator, NCTC, Rear Adm. YEM Musa (rtd), said that the workshop was to build the operational and technical capacities of aviation stakeholders to effectively prevent and respond to terrorist acts against air transportation. He added that this was important, as the risk perception of any country is often associated with the safety of the country’s aviation and maritime.
He added that the impact of terrorism on internal travels also have profound negative impacts on human, social and economic development of any country.
“For instance, the impact of terrorism on the travel and tourism industry can lead to unemployment, homelessness, deflation, and many other social and economic ills.
“Experiences have shown that transportation networks are particularly vulnerable as terrorist and violent extremist organizations have targeted planes, shipping and other means of transport.
“Terrorists and their affiliates have also weaponized transportation networks and means to commit acts of terrorism.
“Hence, sensitising and building the operational and technical capacities of aviation stakeholders through targeted engagements such as this workshop are imperative to effectively prevent and respond to terrorist acts against air transportation,” he said.
The NCTC coordinator said that no single agency or country can achieve meaningful success in the fight against terrorism alone.
He said that the fight against terrorism require inter-agency collaboration and cross-border relationships, “as terrorism recognizes no borders.”
He said the workshop was for government, Non-Governmental Organisations and well-meaning Nigerians to consciously take aviation security more seriously, especially counter terrorism specifics and relevant counter terrorism activities. The workshop, according to him, will also discuss the threats posed by the misuse of drones to national security.
“Today, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have evolved from being tools of reconnaissance to being used as contemporary weapons. Drones have becomes a means and has changed the way wars, especially low-intensity conflicts, are being waged.
“The ever emerging uses and interest in drone acquisition makes its proliferation inevitable.”
The coordinator said it was important for stakeholders to work together to devise robust and proactive strategies to mitigate these adverse challenges in order to strengthen aviation security.
“Over the course of this 3-day workshop, we will have the opportunity to learn from distinguished experts, engage in insightful discussions, and explore innovative solutions to counter the drone threat to aviation,” he added.
Musa therefore urged the participants to get engaged fully in the discussions so as to gain valuable knowledge and expertise, foster meaningful inter-agency collaborations, and develop practical recommendations to enhance aviation security.
In his remarks, the UK First Secretary, Aviation Security for Nigeria, Ghana and Algeria, Mr Jon Kendall, said the best way of combating the threat to civil aviation was for countries to work together.
According to him, the threat of terrorism was global, as terrorists do not respect boundaries, adding that lessons learnt from the various incidents in UK would be shared during the workshop. He said that while the UK would not profess to be perfect in the area of aviation security, it had learnt lessons the hard way through various incidents regarding drones and how to combat them