Aviation experts from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) have expressed their worry over the recent federal government approval for two Sudanese airlines to operate in the Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, particularly as it is coming on the heels of the 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.
On September 18, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) announced that Nigeria had given approval for the Sudan Airways and Sun Air Aviation and two Nigerian carriers, Kabo Air and Skypower Express, to operate between the Sudanese city of Umm Badr and Kano in Nigeria, under the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) agreement.
Expressing his worry, former Chief Security Officer of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Festus Adeboye told local media that the regulatory authority should have carefully considered the security implication of this act, stating that as Nigeria is currently going through several security cries, could be exacerbated by a further influx of arms from Sudan.
According to him, “Our regulatory body ought to have considered the security implication of that decision. They should know the security undertone of designating two Sudanese airlines to Nigeria, but maybe NCAA may have made recommendations against it, but the federal government decided to suppress it.
“They can bring arms to the country through the porous security system. Why are the airlines not coming to Lagos, which has all the security apparatus? United Nations airport security personnel and the US Transport Security Administration (TSA) visit and inspect Lagos airport regularly. But a lot of things can be hidden at the Kano airport.
“Maybe this is to help those from Northern Nigeria who sneak out of the country for medical services through Arab countries to Germany to avoid publicity. They don’t want the people to know their health status. With Sudanese airlines, it will be very easy to do that.”
In hindsight, Nigeria and Sudan have had a long BASA relationship, and they have been flying to Kano in the days of Nigeria Airways. Just like Nigeria Airways, Sudan Airways also ceased operations several years ago.