Nigerian airports start installing body scanners


Nigeria has started installing body scanners at international airports, a senior aviation official said, three months after one of its citizens was suspected of trying to blow up a US-bound passenger plane.

The scanners, which generate an image of the body and identify unusual objects, have caused unease among some human rights campaigners who fear an invasion of passengers’ privacy.
“We’ve started in Lagos and we still have to get and install scanners in the other international airports in Port Harcourt, Kano and Abuja,” Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) spokesperson Akin Olukunle said yesterday.

He said staff were being trained and the machines would begin operation once the public had been prepared for their use.
“It is part of beefing security at airports to ensure that we are operating at international standards … We have to move with the trends and the full-body scanner is one security measure among others,” he said.

The United States put Nigeria on a list of countries needing tighter air security after Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was arrested on suspicion of trying to set off a bomb on board a Detroit-bound airliner in December using materials hidden in his underwear.

Investigators say Abdulmutallab boarded the US flight at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, which already has 15 body scanners and plans to install more, after flying there from Lagos.

Nigeria’s aviation minister said in January the West African country would soon allow US-trained air marshals on flights to the United States in a further effort to boost security.

Pic: Body scanners in an airport in Munich