Aviation Minister Reacts To Atiku’s Search, Says It Is Routine Process

FG Says Abuja Airport 57% Complete

 

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, says it is a routine process for all incoming passengers on international flights to go through customs, immìgration, health and security screenings.

Sirika said this in a statement signed by him on Sunday, in reaction to comments by the Presidential flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar, that he was searched at the airport on his arrival from Dubai, with the aim of intimidating him.

The PDP also issued a statement alleging that security agents invaded Atiku’s aircraft with dangerous weapons to conduct a violent search.

It further stated that the security officials tampered with his personal documents and gadgets.

But the aviation minister described the allegations as a mischievous attempt to grab the headlines.

Read Also: PDP Condemns Alleged Harassment Of Atiku At Abuja Airport

He explained that while it is true that the Task Force on Currency at the airport did the routine action of checking the former Vice President’s travel bag, he was accorded full respect as a senior citizen.

The statement read in part, “For the records, all incoming passengers on international flights go through customs, Immìgration, health and security screening.

“Where the aircraft is using the private, charter wing, as the PDP Candidate did, such arrivals are met by a team of the Immìgration, customs and other security agencies. They go to the arriving aircraft as a team.

“The airport authorities confirm that this is a routine process, applying to all international arrivals, including the minister unless the passenger is the President of Nigeria. The President, the Vice President and passengers aboard planes on the Presidential air fleet use the Presidential wing of the airport.

“It is also important to state that even in the Presidential Wing of the airport the President of Nigeria uses, there is the presence of Immìgration and other security officials who must stamp his or her passport on arrival.

“By standard procedure, all aircraft on international arrivals must first of all park at the international wing of the aircraft. They can move to the domestic terminal only upon the completion of the arrival processes.

“While it is true that the Task Force on Currency at the airport did the routine action of checking the former Vice President’s travel bag, he was accorded full respect as a senior citizen.

“These checks are mandatory, conventional, internationally applied and routine. No one is excused from them under our laws. These checks are carried out on all international arrivals and President Buhari does not get involved in them.

“Law-abiding citizens are encouraged to respect the laws of the country and our VIPs should not seek to be treated over and above the citizens they wish to serve”.

Passengers Applaud Timely Rehabilitation Of Abuja Airport

Passengers Applaud Timely Rehabilitation Of Abuja AirportDomestic flights have resumed operations into the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, following the re-opening of the runway to traffic.

Passengers aboard a domestic flight expressed delight at being able to fly directly into the capital city, and applauded the timely rehabilitation of the facility.

They, however, appealed to the Federal Government to urgently consider the construction of a second runway for the airport, in addition to regular maintenance of the newly rehabilitated one.

Speaking to Channels Television, the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, lauded the prompt decision of the government to rehabilitate the airport.

“We must thank the agencies: The Ministries of Transport, Aviation, Works, and other Nigerians who gave the support. The greatest thing is we thank God that we didn’t wait for a disaster to happen in Abuja before we took that decision,” he said.

The spokesman for the All Progressives Congress, Mr Bolaji Abdullahi, also said: “The last couple of weeks have been quite challenging for some of us who fly quite frequently, the logistics of having to go to Kaduna and all that; but I think it has been managed quite effectively”.

Earlier, the Minister of State for Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, said the Abuja Airport had been certified to accommodate international and local flights, ahead of the date scheduled for its re-opening, April 19.

The Ethiopian Airline Airbus 8350 was the first major airline to land at the airport.

In a statement issued by his spokesman, President Muhammadu Buhari lauded the efforts of key agencies on the successful completion of work on the runway of the airport.

He also thanked foreign airlines for their cooperation with the Nigerian Government during the period of the closure of the airport.

FG Says Abuja Airport 57% Complete

planeThe Federal Government has again reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring the re-opening of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on April 19, 2017.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said this on Thursday during an interview with reporters in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

runway1
runway under construction

He made the assertion after inspecting the progress of work at the facility, alongside the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed.

Mr Sirika said the rehabilitation is 57 per cent complete, reassuring air travellers that the airport will be re-opened with a new runway and a new terminal building on the scheduled date.

runway under construction
runway under construction

The assertion follows the disapproval of the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation over the pace of work at the airport.

The Chairperson of the Committee, Honourable Nkiru Onyejeocha, warned the contractors to keep to the stated date of completion, noting that the Committee will not tolerate request for extension of time.

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Speaking earlier at a meeting in Lagos State, Mr Sirika said he will resign if the airport is not opened by April 19.

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He noted that the level of work on the Abuja runway in the past three weeks shows that the re-opening will be on schedule.

Abuja Airport: House Cmtte’ Frowns On Pace Of Work

Abuja Airport Closure: Amaechi, Sirika Appear Before SenateThe House of Representatives Committee on Aviation has expressed worry over the pace of work ahead of the completion date for ongoing rehabilitation work at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.

Speaking to reporters on Monday shortly after inspecting the runway of the airport, Chairman of the Committee, Honourable Nkiru Onyejeocha, criticised the level of work at the airport.

She warned the contractors to keep to the original completion date of April 19, 2017, noting that the Committee would not tolerate request for extension of time.

In another development, the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, was confident that the completion date is achievable.

Stating the level of his confidence, Mr Sirika said he would resign if the airport is not opened by April 19, 2017.

He said the level of work on the Abuja runway in the past three weeks shows that the re-opening would be on schedule.

FG Reveals Plans To Construct Four New Runways

FG Reveals Plans To Construct Four New RunwaysThe Federal Government says four new runways will soon be constructed at four international airports in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano and Lagos.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, disclosed this on Tuesday when he led the Minister of Information around facilities at the Kaduna International Airport.

The Minister added that the expansion of the runways at the four airports would offer more direct local and international flights, as well as eliminate delays often experienced in the course of landing and taking off of aircraft.

“There will be a second runway in Abuja. Hopefully within the next 24 months, we would have a new runway.

“And then there is a second runway in Kano (the military runway), a second runway in Lagos and a second runway in Port Harcourt,” Mr Sirika said.

The Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed, on his part briefed reporters on the Federal Government’s plan of a complete makeover on some of the airports across the country.

“As a government, we’ve put in place to the best of our ability, arrangements that will ensure security and also guarantee safety of operation both on tarmac and off tarmac, and on route,” he said.

FG Sacks Directors Of NCAA

FG Sacks Directors Of NCAAAll 10 directors at the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) have been removed on the orders of the Federal Government.

The announcement of their sack was confirmed by the General Manager, Public Affairs in the agency, Mr Sam Aderugboye.

Those affected by the purge include the Director of Finance and Accounts, Salawu Ozigi; Director of Aerodrome and Airspace Standards, Dr. Joyce Nkemakolam; Director of Administration, Mr Aba Ejembi, and Director of Licensing, Mr Emmanuel Ogunbami.

Others are Director of Airworthiness, Benedict Adeyileka; Director of Air Transport Regulation, Justus Wariya, and Director of Consumer Protection, Adamu Abdullahi.

Also sacked by the Federal Government were the Director of General Aviation, Ayodele Sasegbon and Director of Human Resources, Austin-Amadi Ifeanyi.

No reason was given for their removal, but the affected directors have been asked to hand over to their immediate deputies.

In October 2016, the Minister of State for Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, had announced an impending restructuring of agencies, including the NCAA and Nigerian Airspace Management Agency.

Nigeria To Establish National Carrier In 2017 – Sirika

Aviation, Hadi Sirika, Nigeria, National CarrierThe Federal Government has announced that it will ensure the establishment of a national carrier for Nigeria before the end of 2017.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, made the disclosure at a meeting with the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation.

He led some officials of the Ministry of Aviation to defend the ministry’s 2017 budget at the session with the lawmakers on Thursday at the National Assembly in Abuja.

Senator Sirika also highlighted some other projects that the ministry would focus on in 2017.

The Chairman of the committee, Representative Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, set the tone of the meeting as the lawmakers began by looking at how well the ministry implemented its 2016 budget.

While scrutinising the 2017 budget proposal of the ministry, some members of the committee expressed concern about the effect of the exchange rate on some of the proposed projects.

The lawmakers had some queries for the ministry and gave the officials two days to submit the outstanding documents.

Abuja Airport Closure: Amaechi, Sirika Appear Before Senate

Abuja Airport Closure: Amaechi, Sirika Appear Before SenateThe Minister of State for Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika and the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi have appeared before the Senate to explain the reason for the planned closure of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja.

The Senate invited both ministers on Tuesday to explain the reason for the closure and rather explore other options besides closing the airport.

Lawmakers are opposing the closure of the airport which they say would bring hardship on local and international travellers.

The Minister of State for Aviation Hadi Sirika, explained that to continue to operate, the Abuja airport will be unsafe and unreasonable as there are daily incidents on the runway.

Captain Sirika said that every flight plan always have alternate landing routes and Kaduna has always been the alternate for Abuja airport.

He also pointed out that most of the sections of the runway have collapsed and if multiple sections have collapsed, it means the entire runway has collapsed.

The runway in the Abuja airport was constructed in 1982 with a lifespan of 14 years which had been exceeded.

Transportation, Aviation Ministers Appear Before Senate

Transportation, Aviation Ministers Appear Before Senate The Minister of State for Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika and the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, have appeared before the Senate on Thursday, to explain the reason for the planned closure of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.

The Senate invited both ministers on Thursday to explain the reason for the closure and rather explore other options besides closing the airport.

According to the lawmakers, closing the airport would bring hardship on local and international travelers.

Mr Sirika, however explained that it would be unsafe to continue to operate in the Abuja Airport, as there have been daily incidents on the runway.

Furthermore, the former pilot, stated that every flight plan always had alternate landing routes and Kaduna has always been the alternative for the Abuja airport.

He also pointed out that most of the sections of the runway have collapsed and if multiple sections have collapsed, it means the entire runway has collapsed.

The runway in the Abuja airport was constructed in 1982 with a lifespan of 14 years which had been exceeded.

FG Commits To Closing Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport

Nnamdi Azikiwe International AirportThe Nigerian Government has restated its resolve to shut down the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja from March 8.

The government also reassured international and local airline operators, as well as air travellers of adequate security at the Kaduna airport.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, made the assertion on Thursday at a special stakeholders’ meeting on the temporary closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.

He emphasised the importance of the closure, pointing out the security and safety measures put in place to ease air transportation to and from Kaduna airport.

The Minister, who addressed all the concerns raised by the stakeholders, said that the closing of the airport was a painful decision taken in the interest of all stakeholders.

He said that the Federal Government remained committed to the safety of air travellers, stressing that the airport runway would be rehabilitated within six weeks.

In their separate remarks, the chairmen of Airline Operators of Nigeria and international airline operators, Mr Noggie Maggison and Mr Osho Joseph, expressed objections over the closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.

The British Deputy High Commissioner, Harriet Thompson, also raised concerns about the movement of passengers from Abuja to Kaduna.

The runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport was built in 1982 with a life span of 20 years.

Fourteen years after its lifespan expired, the airstrip has been adjudged unsafe for air travellers.

Nasarawa Airport To Serve As Agricultural Produce Export Platform

AviationThe Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, says the ongoing Nasarawa State Airport project will serve as a platform for exporting perishable agricultural products.

He also believes that the airport will serve as a catalyst for the development of the economy.

Speaking during a meeting with the Nasarawa State Governor, Mr Umar Al-Makura, in Abuja, the minister announced that the Federal Government was set to support the project as aviation was a reliable source of generating revenue for the nation.

Governor Almakura said that the state had procured 1,000 hectares of land for the project and that the Lafia Airport when completed would be the best alternative to the Federal Capital Territory for aviation activities.

Buhari Expresses Regret As Bad Weather Disrupts Trip To Bauchi

Buhari Expresses Regret As Bad Weather Disrupts Trip To BauchiPresident Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Bauchi scheduled to take place December 29 has been postponed arising from the prevailing weather conditions in the country.

Uncooperative weather which has been the bane of air travel in the current harmattan season, leading to the delay and cancellation of flights, reared its head in Abuja Airport on Thursday morning, preventing the take-off of the President’s plane for the trip to Bauchi.

According to Presidential Spokesperson, Mr Garba Shehu, technical information received from the weather station showed that visibility was 600 meters, 200 metres short of the 800 metres minimally required for a safe aircraft take-off.

According to the information available, the visibility was expected to drop to 300 metres before improving to permissible limit later in the day.

The commander of the Presidential Air Fleet, Air Commodore Hassan Abubakar, said that the Presidential Aircraft was in perfect condition, the weather in Bauchi was alright, but that the problem was in Abuja.

In cancelling the visit to the state, President Buhari expressed regret over the disruption caused by the bad weather.

In a recorded audio and video message, he said he looked forward to the visit in the course of which he was to commission an Air Force medical facility and a number of other projects by the state government. He said he also intended to thank the people for their relentless support in all his political undertakings.

“We make our plans, God makes His own plans,” said the President.

President Buhari thanked the Government and people of Bauchi State and the Nigerian Air Force for the studious and elaborate preparations made to receive him, and assured that he is going to visit the state at a more auspicious time.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, in his reaction, said the Federal Government is planning to upgrade the Instrument Landing Systems (ILS), at the country’s major airports, to ensure that they are working better.

This is with a view to minimizing the sort of flight disruptions that have featured every harmattan season.