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Nigeria Aircraft, Airspace Safe – NCAA

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The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) yesterday affirmed that the country’s airlines and aircraft were safe for air travelers and operations.

The NCAA Director-General, Capt. Musa Nuhu, made the assertion while addressing newsmen in Lagos.

Nuhu was reacting to a statement allegedly made by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Sen.

Smart Adeyemi that the industry was in critical condition.

Adeyemi had in a public hearing said the industry might soon begin to record plane crashes from next week if quick actions, such as increased bailouts, were not implemented.

He had said that the N4 billion recently announced as bailout funds for the industry by the Federal Government was not enough to address the challenges of the industry.

According to the lawmaker, the industry needs about N50 billion to avoid disasters as airline operators have resorted to cutting corners in carrying out maintenance requirements for their aircraft.

Nuhu, however, told newsmen that he could categorically clarify that the country’s airplanes were safe, emphasising that the unsafe ones had been grounded.

“Some aircrafts have been grounded in Nigeria for months because they are not safe and we have insisted that the operators must fix whatever issue they have before they are authorised to fly.

“The standards as regards airworthiness of airplanes, even I as the DG, I do not have the authority to waive anything as long as it is a safety related issue.

“All our aircraft flying are safe.

“I believe this statement came supposedly from the National Assembly and I want to believe there was a misquotation.

“Somehow, the story was twisted by whomever, for whatever, to make a sensational story and what this has done is that it has cast doubt on Nigeria civil aviation with international community,” he said.

Nuhu said the bad image could make it difficult for airlines to access international funds and to have good lease rate for the operators’ aircraft, while their insurance premium might increase.

“Of course, the twisting of the senator’s comment has created an impression that Nigeria civil aviation is not safe and I don’t think you want to put your aircraft or money where the system is not safe,” he said.

The authority, he said, was training its technical staff to make sure they were up to date by developing more skills and ability to do their jobs.

The D-G noted that the gesture had also been replicated on all operators including the airlines and ground handlers.

“We said they must comply with our regulations.

“This has led to the grounding of some aircraft because for some reasons, they were not in compliance and we insisted everybody must comply with the regulations.

“One of the regulations is the aircraft airworthiness; the crew must be properly trained, proficient to do their jobs. Everybody must meet the requirements of the regulators,” he said.

Nuhu said that after the lockdown, NCAA performed an oversight function over airlines, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and other government agencies.

“Some people think FAAN is the regulator, but that is not so.

“FAAN is a public service provider and we regulate them. When we closed the airports, we make sure they are not reopened until FAAN meets some certain requirements,” he said.

According to Nuhu, this explains why all the airports are not reopened at the same time.

“The Lagos and Kano airports were reopened when they were certified safe for operations after the lockdown was eased,’’ he said.

Aviation

Passengers Stranded as NLC Locks Down Abuja Airport

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By Idris Umar Feta Abuja

Many air travellers were left stranded following the closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, by officials of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Thursday.

A combined team of NLC and Trade Union Congress (TUC) blocked both the entry and exit ways of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport.

The protest was part of the series of actions that the two labour unions say they would zero in on Imo, following the attack on the NLC president, Joe Ajaero.

The NLC and TUC had on Tuesday, declared a nationwide strike, which will commence on Tuesday, November 14, due to the face-off with the Imo State Government.

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Soludo Names Airport After  Achebe

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Anambra State Governor, Professor Charles Soludo has renamed the state’s International Passenger and Cargo Airport after the late Chinua Achebe, a novelist, to immortalise him for making an indelible mark on the history of human civilisation.

Achebe a native of Ogidi in Idemili North Local Government Area of the state, died on March 21, 2013, at age 82, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Soludo said this on Sunday in Awka at the Independence Day parade, to mark Nigeria’s 63rd anniversary, describing Achebe as an example of Africa’s unsung hero.

“Achebe, a Nigerian novelist, poet, and critic, gave the African literature an identity and a voice and he rightly reconstructed and refined the identify of the people,” he said.

The governor said that Achebe was not just an Anambra hero nor a Nigerian hero, but an African and global hero and yet largely unsung at home.

He said that henceforth, the state shall be deliberate in fishing out and celebrating its largely unsung heroes as motivation to children and youths.

“Unfortunately, some people wrongly think of legacies in terms of brick and mortar. Legacy is about impact on human life and human civilisation.

“Achebe was not a president or governor or military. He did not build bridges or roads or airports but he will outlive most presidents, governors and ministers in our minds.

“Achebe rejected Nigeria’s national honours twice in protest against what he perceived as injustice to his home state Anambra. Today, Anambra will finally honour him.

“After wide consultations, there is a broad consensus that no one is more deserving to be named after the first airport in Anambra than Anambra’s all-time greatest literary gift to the world, Chinua Achebe.

“Consequently, we will rename the Anambra International Cargo and Passenger Airport, Umueri, to Chinua Achebe International Airport, Umueri.

“Yes, it has to be an international airport, and we hope to work with the Federal Government to give full effect to its international status,” he said.

Soludo urged Nigerians to be intentional about making the project Nigeria work and believe in the potential greatness of the country.

“We have muddled through the past 63 years with squandered opportunities and yet with the promise of potential greatness

“No country or nation is a perfect. Every nation continues to struggle in its match to a more perfect union. The path to stability, growth and sustainability will be challenging as there are no quick fixes.

“But all of us must collectively think and work Nigeria out of the current challenges. We have no other country but Nigeria, and we must make it to work for everyone, “he said.

The governor said his administration was founded on the true progressive agenda and would continue to create the enabling environment for residents to thrive and survive.

The police, paramilitary organisations and students from different schools took part in the parade. (NAN)

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Abiodun flags off Aviation Village construction

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Abiodun flags off Aviation Village construction

Gov. Dapo Abiodun of Ogun on Tuesday flagged off the construction of 200 units of two-bedroom expanded bungalows, at the Gateway Aviation Village, Iperu in Ikenne Local Government Area of the state.

The governor, represented by his Special Adviser on Housing, Jagunmolu Omoniyi, said the project would herald the creation of a new city in the town and serve the entire Remo cluster and the state in general.

He said the project was divided into two phases, with the first 100 units to be ready in six months.

According to the governor, the siting of the housing scheme would serve institutions and people who will make use of the Gateway Agro-Cargo Airport.

Abiodun noted that government agencies like the Customs, the Nigerian Air Force and other corporate bodies had already indicated interest in the airport.

He said that the project would create jobs for about 5,000 artisans of various skills in the course of execution.

“This is the people’s project. This housing scheme will complement the airport and serve those who will work in this town.

“I can assure you that within two years, the story of this town will change. We will not engage outsiders to work in this estate, but the people of this town.

“We have done similar projects at Kemta, Idi-Aba and Kobape. The siting of similar housing estate has changed the landscape of Kobape, which was a village before, to a lively city,” he said.

The governor called on prospective buyers to start the process by obtaining their forms, charging the people to support and take ownership of the project for the development of the town.

In his remarks, the Chairman of Ikenne Local Government Area, Mr Segun Ogunleye, expressed gratitude to the governor, saying with the siting of the housing estate and the cargo airport, the development of the town was assured.(NAN)

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