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Nigeria to Put Air Marshals on US-Bound Flights

Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority Director Harold Demuren says the decision demonstrates Nigeria's commitment to aviation security

Nigeria said it will soon deploy air marshals on its flights to the United States to increase security after the foiled Christmas day attack on a U.S. airliner by a Nigerian man, Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab.

Nigerian Aviation Minister Babatunde Omotoba told reporters Wednesday that the United States approached Nigeria about putting air marshals on its U.S.-bound flights.

Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority Director Harold Demuren said the decision demonstrates Nigeria’s commitment to aviation security.

“Definitely we believe that this is a demonstration that our country is completely committed to aviation security,” he said.

Since the Christmas day foiled attack on a U.S. airliner bound for the city of Detroit, the United States has moved to place Nigeria on a security watch list and invoked extra screening for passengers from Nigeria to the United States.

Demuren said the Nigerian government has made known its displeasure with the new U.S. restrictions.

“We are not happy that we are listed. We are very dissatisfied about this and we have made it very clear. We hope that this will be revisited very quickly,” Demuren said.

He said since the attempted airline bombing of a U.S.-bound airliner by Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, Nigeria has taken additional measures to enhance aviation security.

“We have had 100 percent examination at our airports, we are introducing three-D full-body scanners, we are doing second screening of all hand luggage, we have met all ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) security directives,” he said.

Demuren said Nigeria has also passed U.S. Transportation Security Administration audit twice for Lagos and Abuja airports.

He said the request to put air marshals on U.S.-bound flights came from the Obama administration and Nigeria consented.

Demuren said Nigeria will ask the United States to help train air marshals.