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Federal Government Beefs Up Airport Security -Tougher Legislation Against Terrorism Coming, Says Nigerin President Goodluck Jonathan.

Published on Monday 18th October 2010 Federal Government Beefs Up Airport Security -Tougher Legislation Against Terrorism Coming, Says Nigerin President Goodluck Jonathan.

The Federal Government yesterday tightened security at the busy Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, a day after the militant group, the Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) threatened an imminent attack in the nation's capital, travellers said.

Also while addressing the people of Imo State yesterday in Owerri, during his working visit to the state, President Goodluck Jonathan has restated his administration's readiness to fight terrorism and all criminal acts in the country to a standstill as legislative measures were underway to deal with the situation.

The security officials, armed with bomb detectors, screened vehicles about 250 metres (800 feet) out on the airport access road, including conducting physical inspection of some vehicles.

"No such security measures were in place at the airport three days ago," AFP quoted a traveller as saying.

Security officials with bomb detectors were also stationed yesterday at the entrance of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The corporation carried out a simulated bomb drill for its workers shortly after the October 1 blasts.

General Manager, Public Affairs, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN), Mr. Akin Olukunle told THISDAY that security had been beefed up at the Lagos Airports, and other airports in the country since two weeks ago following the Abuja explosion.

He explained that the FAAN has not relaxed such measure. He said since such an arrangement has been in place, there is no need for fresh security measures at the Lagos Airports.

MEND threatened in a statement on Friday that a bomb attack was "imminent" in Abuja, which experienced twin car bombings on October 1 during the 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations. At least 12 people died and several others were injured during the incident.

The threat by MEND came in a statement that criticised the government's response to the October 1 Independence Day bombings.

Tension generated by the handling of the October 1 bombings has snowballed into counter claims especially with the arrest and interrogation of the Director-General of Ibrahim Babangida Campaign Organisation, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, who in turn has alleged political persecution by the Federal Government.

MEND Leader, Henry Okah, who is on trial in South Africa has for his alleged role in the Abuja incident has denied involvement in the bombings. He alleged that agents of the government had contacted him and asked him to implicate certain northern politicians for the Abuja mayhem.

But MEND, which claimed responsibility for the Abuja blasts, however, said on Friday that opponents of President Goodluck Jonathan have been falsely implicated ahead of elections early next year, and vowed to carry out another attack to prove them innocent.

Inspector-General of Police, Hafiz Ringim had promised in a statement on Friday to ensure the safety and security of lives and property all over the country.

Meanwhile, the President said a bill to deal with the terrorism situation in any part of the country is before the National Assembly. We need strong legislation.

He said the National Assembly will deal with that quickly. "We are working to making sure that we have modern gadgets to detect weapons anywhere it is planted.

"Police is also acquiring helicopter gunship. We will no longer tolerate any such act. As a nation, we are taking it very seriously. The helicopter gunship will track down armed robbers, and other criminals within 20 minutes of such crime to handle the situation' he said.

The federal government is not leaving any stone unturned in ensuring that criminality in the country was brought to the lowest ebb, as it is procuring helicopter gunship to track criminals within 20 minutes of such crime.

Jonathan, who was answering questions in a town hall meeting with stakeholders at the Multi-purpose Hall, Government House, Owerri yesterday, said government cannot continue to allow "these" miscreants to undermine the good intentions of government as well as endangering the lives and property of the people.

He accepted that it was the responsibility of government to provide security to the citizens of the country, and vowed that his government would henceforth deal decisively with those who have made the country unsafe for both citizens and foreigners.

"It is the responsibility of government to provide security. We are highly committed and we will not allow a few miscreants to raise frontal attack on the citizens of this country. Government need surgical and therapy measures to deal with the situation. Our places will no longer be allowed to be haven for kidnappers, terrorists, etc', he said.

He narrated how furious he felt when the Abuja bomb blast happened and with such temper, he assured that the federal government was not relenting in tracking those who were responsible for the crime.

On the strike action by Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in state-owned institutions in the South East geo-political zone, the president said that he was concerned over the issue and would henceforth commence discussion with the governors in the zone and the leadership of ASUU in order to arrive at a compromise.

With regard to the crisis rocking the Imo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Jonathan noted that even though the party operates with a constitution but the issue of who leads the party was not captured in the constitution, rather members assume it should be the President at the national level or the governor at the state level.

The President pointed out that the Owerri-Aba road would be considered for dualisation as such issue was being discussed at the federal executive council level.

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