EDITORIAL- IS THE GAMBIAN GOV’T CONCEALING A MAJOR SECURITY RELATED BREACH AT THE AIRPORT?

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The Gambian government must come out clean about the recent security breach related issues reported at the Banjul international airport. Aviation safety is sacrosanct, and it should not be compromised under any given circumstances.

A recent press conference convened by the Presidential Adviser Mai Ahmed Fatty, and one Mr. Nyagadou, an official of the airport, on the airport closure, had left the nation in suspense. Nothing substantive was unveiled at that rather impromptu news conference.

Mai Fatty kept dancing around the issue of “poor sanitation” around the airport. He also blames “birds” flying around the vicinity, which he says, had posed a threat to the incoming flights. He also talked about a plane that had a flat tyre, which had resulted in flight delays at the airport.

There is more to the story. Something unusual happened at the airport, which had resulted to planes abound for Banjul, being diverted to neighboring Senegal. Folks at the control tower are privy to what happened. Come out clean and tell the public what happened.

Our airport should be revamped to meet international aviation standards. Issues relating to aviation safety should not be taken for granted. This includes—reliable and an interrupted electricity supply; functional communication system; smooth and an efficient runway (tarmac) for planes; and professional access control security system.

The toilet facilities at the Banjul international airport also shocks. The sanitary conditions at that airport is appalling. One is compelled to ask: What happen to the millions of dalasis being collected at the airport on a weekly basis?

The airport management couldn’t avail its customers decent restrooms (toilets) and cooling system. Remember that visitors report whatever they see when they land into this country. A good impression matters. Let improve the sanitary conditions at the airport.

That being said, many were taken aback to see the Presidential adviser Mai Fatty to weigh into the airport closure debacle. That was not within his domain. It falls within the purview of the Works, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Bai Lamin Jobe.

In addition, issues relating to media communication, should be handled by the Government Spokesperson or the Information Minister. Fatty was treading into a domain outside his purview.

Therefore, Mai, jumping into such a crucial matter, raises suspicion in some quarters. Many are of the view that the government is concealing a vital security related breach at the airport. Prevention is better than cure.

It is imperative for the government to put in place the necessary infrastructure that would prevent a disaster situation than playing a hide and seek game with the public.

Airport security should not be politicized. It should be handled by true professionals and not political hacks.

Let the professionals handle what they are paid to do. Mai Fatty should stop outshining his colleagues. We rest our case.

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