FEC Approves Abuja Airport Closure For Repairs

FEC Approves Abuja Airport Closure For RepairsThe Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport Abuja will be officially closed for six weeks to enable repair works on the runway which is said to be dysfunctional.

Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika, disclosed this to State House correspondents after the council meeting.

He said that the federal government will also be spending over one billion Naira to complete the Kaduna airport terminal building, a project that had been abandoned for some time.

Also the Federal Executive Council approved over 4 billion Naira for the purchase of firefighting equipment to enable firemen in the country to perform their functions well.

Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazzau disclosed this to state house  correspondents after the council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Reps Call For Investigation Of Aviation Fund Allegedly Diverted

House of Representatives, Reps, KidnappingThe House of Representatives on Wednesday urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, to investigate the alleged diversion of 120 billion Naira Aviation Intervention Fund provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2012.

This is one of the recommendations adopted by the House after considering the report of its Committee on Aviation that looked into the need to rescue the airline industry from imminent collapse.

The House also approved a recommendation, urging the Minister of State for Aviation to stay action on the proposed concession of airports until he briefs the House and Nigerians.

In September, the Federal Government said there was no going back on its plan to concession the four major airports in Nigeria.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, told reporters in Lagos that the government had already indicated interest to concession the Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt International Airports to improve their safety and capacity.

Mr Sirika says the current condition of airports had made it extremely difficult for Nigeria to attract the desired number of passengers to transform the country into an aviation hub.

“Nigeria has potential to do between 70 to 100 million passengers annually, within the next five years, if the right things are put in place.

“The 15 million annual passengers which is the country’s current capacity can be improved upon if private investors are allowed to participate in the sector.

“Government does not have money to put into these businesses and we don’t want to sell these facilities either; so that is why we are concessioning them because it is the only way to go,’” he said.

Lawmakers Probe Aviation Sector

house-of-representiatives-committee-on-aviationMembers of the House of Representatives on Tuesday held a public hearing on the challenges facing Nigeria’s aviation sector.

Officials of the government and stakeholders in the aviation sector were at the hearing.

Issues that had been whipped up by a plan to concession four international airports’ terminals were discussed.

The Federal Government says the planned concession of the four airports’ terminals is aimed at repositioning the aviation sector, generating more revenue and enhancing service delivery.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, gave the government’s position while addressing the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation on the need to rescue the airline industry from collapse.

He says the present economic situation has led to the downturn in the aviation sector.

One of the ways the government hopes to address some of the challenges in the sector is to focus on some airports, he told the lawmakers.

Representatives of airport staff unions, led by the National President, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association, Benjamin Okewu, however, opposed the proposed concession.

Mr Okewu expressed fears that the airports the government was planning to concession were the viable ones.

house-of-representatives-probe-aviation-sector
Officials of the government and stakeholders at the hearing

The public hearing followed a motion passed by the House on the need to rescue the airline industry from imminent collapse.

The Chairman of the House Committee, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, outlined some of the challenges that are of concern to the House to include the suspension of operations by local  airlines, increasing termination of operations by international airlines and the licencing requirements and capacity of local airlines.

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yussuff Lasun, believes the sector is too economically viable to be ignored.

“This sector also supports 159,000 jobs in Nigeria,” he stressed.

Channels Television’s correspondent, Lanre Lasisi reports that the debate will continue over the next few days.

No Going Back On Airports Concession – FG

Aviation
Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika.

The Federal Government says there is no going back on its plan to concession the four major airports in the country.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who met with journalists in Lagos, explained that government had already indicated interest to concession the Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Harcourt International Airports to improve their safety and capacity.

Mr. Sirika says the current condition of airports had made it extremely difficult for Nigeria to attract the desired number of passengers to transform the country into an aviation hub.

“Nigeria has potential to do between 70 to 100 million passengers annually, within the next five years, if the right things are put in place.

“The 15 million annual passengers which is the country’s current capacity can be improved upon if private investors are allowed to participate in the sector.

“Government does not have money to put into these businesses and we don’t want to sell these facilities either; so that is why we are concessioning them because it is the only way to go,’’ he said.

He also described the recent protest by some aviation unions as a misconception because this decision is to ensure proper management, while government retains ownership of the airports.

The minister noted that aviation was a money spinner and could help the government to generate revenue which would be used to revitalize the Nigerian economy.

He said the government was committed to the establishment of a national carrier, a Repair, Maintenance and Overhaul (MRO) facility and an aviation leasing company which would all be privately funded.

The minister noted that their absence in the country had constituted a huge challenge to the growth of the aviation sector.

 

Federal Government To Decongest Abuja Airport

Abuja AirportThe Federal Government will soon put in place security equipment at the domestic terminal of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja in Nigeria.

Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, gave the indication when he received a delegation from the British High Commission, led by the Head of Aviation Security, Jankie Milies.

The decision, according to the Minister, would enable some airlines operate from there, without hindering the ongoing restructuring and remodelling works. It is also aimed at decongesting the traffic at the international terminal and to ensure easier surveillance.

He said that he had considered the necessity of the exercise in view of the precarious world security situation that has put aviation under serious watch.

According to the Minister, the fact that most of the major disasters that have befallen the world in the recent past have been aviation-related, has put the issue of aviation security on the front burner as it is one of the weakest links being exploited by terrorists.

This is why the ministry is trying hard to establish an aviation security system which would be of world standard, with the ability to work with arms, sniffer dogs, modern surveillance equipment and intelligence gathering.

Sirika also disclosed that the ministry was also working towards improving the physical security of the nation’s airports.

He commended the efforts of the British government in conducting an assessment of the security situation in the nation’s airports with the aim of determining areas of possible assistance.

He informed the delegation that the ministry had recently set up a committee for a similar purpose and currently studying its report and recommendations for implementation and called for greater collaboration between the two countries especially in the area of capacity enhancement in modern aviation security trends.

The leader of the delegation, who is also Head of Aviation Security at the British High Commission, Jankie Milies had earlier told the minister that her team had undertaken an assessment of some of the nation’s airports with the assistance of the relevant agencies, in order to determine areas of possible assistance and discovered some challenges in cargo handling.

She said that the team had one more round of assessment to do before turning in their full report that would culminate in further discussions.

She informed the Minister of their readiness to conduct some training for about 80 aviation employees drawn from the relevant agencies.

Jankie Milies told the Minister of the readiness of the High Commission to arrange an assessment tour of the ministry’s officials to some airports in the United Kingdom to help in the development of aviation security in Nigeria.

The Minister accepted the offer immediately.

Senate Confirms 18 Ministerial Nominees

Ministerial NomineesEighteen of the 37 ministerial nominees from the list submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari have been confirmed by the Senate.

They include Udoma Udo Udoma, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, Audu Ogbe, Christopher Ogbonnaya Onu, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Lt.Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazzau, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Amina Mohammed, Ibrahim Jubril, Babatunde Fashola, Aisha Alhassan.

Others are Senator Hadi Sirika, Solomon Dalong, Ibe Kachukwu, Kemi Adeosun, Abubakar Malami, Engineer Suleiman Adamu and Dr. Chris Ngige.

At the end of plenary on Wednesday, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki read out the names of the nominees who had fielded questions from the lawmakers. The senators in a vote confirmed all 18 nominees.

The lawmakers carried out the confirmation.

Former Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State was the first to take the stand at the Senate chambers today.

Mr Fashola held his audience spell bound for almost an hour and half answering questions from senators.

He told them that as governor for eight years in office he did not sign a cheque.

Mr Fashola also responded to questions on loyalty and on the 78 million naira allegedly sank to build a website.

Watch all videos of the Senates’s screening of the ministerial nominees on Channels Television YouTube channel.