By Sumaila Ogbaje
UN agency on counter-terrorism has praised Nigeria for its stand against terrorism and described the country as active member and long-standing partner in counter-terrorism work.
Dr Jehangir Khan, Director, Counter Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) and United Nations Counter Terrorism Centre (UNCCCT), made the commendation at the graduation of 35 Nigerian aviation security Master Trainers by the UNCCT, on Friday in Abuja.
He said Nigeria was one of the early partners in the Integrated Assistance for Countering Terrorism (I-ACT), that brought the UN family together to provide ‘All-of-UN’ capacity building on counter-terrorism.
“The selection of Nigeria as the first country to receive this type of project reflects highly upon the importance of Nigeria in both the global aviation security sector and overall counter-terrorism efforts of Member States.
“Nigeria is a long-standing partner in the United Nations counter-terrorism work, including as a valued member of the UNCCT Advisory Board.
“And as one of the early partners in the Integrated Assistance for Countering Terrorism (I-ACT), which brings the entire UN family together to provide ‘All-of-UN’ capacity building on counter-terrorism and the prevention of violent extremism.
“These engagements are a testament to the seriousness with which the Nigerian authorities are addressing terrorism and violent extremism,’’ he said.
Khan said that Aviation Security project was aligned with the priorities of the UN global counter-terrorism strategy.
He added that Master Trainers project was “first of its kind” in Aviation Security Training being implemented by UNCCT.
According to Khan, the Aviation Security project is designed to respond to the current security environment and to strengthen the aviation security sector in Nigeria and in the broader region.
“It responds to urgent needs and addresses concerns shared by all Member States with regard to the global security in the aviation sector.
“By demonstrating success, this project will serve as a model and I encourage the international community to continue to support these important efforts,’’ he said.
Also, Mohammed Fall, Resident Coordinator, UN Ad Interim, said that aviation security was a key element in the counter terrorism strategies that had practical bearings on human lives.
Fall, while commending the efforts of the Nigerian government in improving aviation security in the country, said the effort would enable UN to carry out its works effectively.
“Also, as part of this project there has been a complete updating of all aviation security policies, procedures, and regulations.
“This combined with an aggressive compliance and inspectorate programme will ensure the sustainability of the programme.
“You, our proud Trainers and Security Officers, who are graduating today are a key part of the sustainability strategy of this programme.
“The success of this project to date is due to a number of factors and in many ways speak to why Nigeria was selected as the first country to receive the training.
“First, as with other UN programmes, Nigeria is an exceptional partner to work with. That spirit of partnership was key to the success of this project.
“Second, is government’s willingness to improve. The government, and in this case, the Minister of State for Aviation’s desire to enhance aviation security has been consistent.
“His courage to take on the most difficult issues and strive for excellence is remarkable,’’ he said.
NAN recalls that UNCCT commenced the Master Trainer programme in July 2016, to train Nigerian aviation security personnel as trainers.
The trained personnel are expected to train the large number of AVSEC personnel at the two training centres to be set up by the UN in Lagos and Zaria. (NAN)