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Appraising achievements in aviation sector

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Murtala Muhammed Airport Lagos. PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN


A recent report launched in London by the Oxford Economics, indicated that the aviation industry contributed $10 billion to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria and other African countries. The report entitled: “Aviation: The Real World Wide Web,” launched by the Economics, a world leader in quantitative analysis and economic forecasting, outlined what countries should do to continue to benefit from the potential in the air transportation sector.

The Federal Government, aware of the great potential of the sector, had continued to invest in infrastructural upgrade, as well as pursue policies and programmes, to boost air transportation. According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the approval of N10billion by President Muhammad Buhari, for the rehabilitation of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, was a testimony that the Federal Government was desirous of boosting the economy, through the provision of enabling environment.

Buhari in his tweet stated: “I have approved the sum of N10 billion for an intervention fund for the upgrade of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.“I have the assurance of the Minister of Aviation that the work will be done speedily and to the highest standards.

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“Even as we have items competing for our limited resources, we will continue to prioritise infrastructure investments in every part of the country. It is our responsibility to ensure Nigeria’s infrastructure is fixed; we will keep doing this.”Sen. Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation, on his part, said the rehabilitation would be completed by April 2020.The minister gave the assurance when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation to defend the 2020 budget of the ministry.

“ The work would not last beyond Easter, which is usually celebrated in April, and it would be so delivered in such a way that will treat the Enugu problem once and for all, “ he said. Chairman, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association (ATSSSAN), Abuja Chapter, Samuel Wuyep, said the intervention fund would tremendously improve security and safety at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport.

According to him, the upgrade will advance the standardisation process of airports in the country.He suggested thorough monitoring to ensure that experts executing the project carried out quality works.Mr Hector Nnadi, Chairman of Joint Consultative and Negotiating Council (JCNC), Ministry of Aviation, hailed Buhari for approving the fund and commended the Federal Government for prioritising infrastructure development in every part of the country.

According to Nnadi, it is the responsibility of the government to ensure Nigeria’s infrastructure is fixed.He expressed optimism that with resources made available; the Minister of Aviation would do everything possible to ensure that Enugu Airport was upgraded as fast as possible.

Nnadi also commended the Federal Government for the proposed re-establishment of a national carrier.Nnadi said that the proposed national carrier would be different from the defunct Nigeria Airways in terms of ownership.According to him, the government plans to partner the private sector to ensure sustainability of the proposed national carrier.

In order to boost aviation safety, Nigeria was one of the countries, that ratified the amendment of Montreal Protocol 2014,with the International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO.The amendment is on: “Offences and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft.’’Sirika, who deposited the ratification on Protocol to Amend the Convention on Offences and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft, at the United Nations agency’s headquarters in Montreal, Canada, said, the historic event made Nigeria to be the 22nd state to deposit the ratification.

He said that the ratification gave strength to the implementation, which would come into effect from Jan. 1, 2020The minister said that the action was in line with Nigeria’s effort to support air laws against unruly behaviour on board aircraft.“It is President Muhammadu Buhari’s desire that this law comes into effect because it will mitigate against unlawful interference on board aircraft.

“Nigeria will continue to support any law that will make air transport even safer; and this is one of them,” the minister added.Sirika also said that the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), is being repositioned to enable it make accurate predictions to ensure air safety as well as boost agricultural yields.

To that effect, the minister inaugurated inter-ministerial committee, charged with the responsibility to review from 2015 to 2018, the impact of Seasonal Rainfall Predictions (SRP) of the NIMET on the nation’s food security.He said the scientific and exact predictions were important and beneficial to the people, especially farmers and town planners.

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“Like how to plan cities and build houses in such a way that stand the weather conditions, but the most important one is our ability to feed our self, by knowing when to plant and harvest crops and at what particular season.“ It is in recognition of the importance of the annual rainfall predictions that the agency is being empowered and positioned for more accuracy.

“We are acquiring capability through NIMET, to cascade and drop it down within meters and inches of accuracy, “ he said.According to him, some farmers in Sokoto State, testified that from the predictions and the advice they got in 2017, made them to record bumper harvest.He listed the committee’s terms of reference as: “Examining the level of awareness of stakeholders (especially farmers) of the SRP; compare and contrast the agricultural production and SRP within the period 2015 to 2018.

“Examine the consumption, vis-a-vis production of agricultural products on the nation’s economy within the period.“Related issues on SRP and food security and other assignments given by the ministry on the subject matter, “ he added.As we step into 2020, stakeholders are optimistic that the Akanu Ibiam International Airport would be completed as promised by the minister. They also want the minister to ensure Nigeria reaps the gains of ratifying the amendment of Montreal Protocol 2014.

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