Some sensitive safety equipment of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET) is being vandalised across airports and sites in the country, a security agent close to the agency has said.
It was gathered that the equipment is being regularly vandalised in at least 24 airports across the country, including those with perimeter fences and there are fears that this may affect air safety in the country.
Some of the equipment being vandalised includes Low Level Windshear Alert System (LLWAS), alert system sensors, automatic weather display system, and others.
The security source who didn’t want his name in print told Nairametrics that most of the agency’s equipment especially at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja and the South East of the country are regularly vandalised by criminals.
The source alleged that some of the equipment at the Lagos Airport for instance, is installed on the runway, close to Ile-Zik Area within the Ikeja axis.
The source claimed that about three weeks ago, security agencies in the company of some NiMET management staff toured the facilities of the agency to look at the extent of vandalism to some of the equipment.
The source, therefore, called on the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to enhance security at all airports in the country to prevent security threats.
The source said: “Most of NiMET equipment at the Lagos Airport for instance is being vandalised. Most of this equipment is even on the runway of the airport and Ile-Zik.
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“FAAN needs to do more about this security threat at our airports, especially the Lagos Airport. I went on a tour of the facilities with NiMET officials about three weeks ago to see the extent of the vandalism.”
Nairametrics gathered that NiMET has at least 13 sensor sites that measure wind speed at different points at the Lagos Airport alone.
These sensors give a clear picture of the possibility of windshear around the airport during descent or take off of aircraft.
Prof. Mansur Matazu, the Director-General of NiMET confirmed the development to Nairametrics, but said the agency was collaborating with local security agents and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to curb the heinous crime.
Matazu decried that NiMET had been suffering from persistent vandalism of some of its safety sensors around airports including the Lagos aerodrome, which he said were within the airport’s perimeter fences and beyond.
Some of this equipment includes automatic weather display systems for aviation, which also have some sensors and power points of solar panels.
“We have had so many cases of outright vandalisation and we have been collaborating with FAAN on security settings and on our own also, we have had to deploy additional security measures by constructing shelter of security around the sensor sites and also employ some security personnel outside the agency’s security settings. This is really affecting our operations.
“I remember we attended a town hall meeting with our minister, Sen. Hadi Sirika in which issues of vandalisation of aviation measurement sensors sites across the country were discussed. It is quite worrisome and we are working to also have some external security measures by collaborating with security agencies.”
Matazu, however, said that NiMET was integrating communities around its equipment in securing some of these installations with its safety officers, while a taskforce was equally instituted on airport operations for that purpose.
NiMET is responsible for providing weather forecasts, which are integrated into daily flight plans by airline operators in order to reduce negative weather phenomena . It also provides services to the agric, maritime, rail, road sectors as well as industries.
The Low Level Windshear Alert System (LLWAS) has eight sensors, if more than three out of these sensors are down, it would not give a clear picture of the windshear, which is a major hazard to aircraft either landing or taking off.
The failure to give a clear picture of windshear may lead to fatal accidents.
Sosoliso Airline crash example
Recalled that the Sosoliso Airlines flight 1145 airplane crash of December 10, 2005 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja in which 107 of 109 souls onboard perished was attributed to windshear by the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) in its final report on the accident.