FG promises to scale investments in aviation safety, security

The Federal Government has promised that more investments will be deployed into the provision of infrastructure and facilities for safe, secure, environmentally-friendly and sustainable civil aviation in Nigeria.

President Muhammadu Buhari gave the assurance yesterday, when he played host to the Secretary-General, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Juan Carlos Salazar, at the State House, Abuja.

Buhari also said Nigeria would support the ideals and aspirations of ICAO and achievement of its strategic objectives, in collaboration with other Member States of the Organization.

“Nigeria became a member of ICAO Council in 1962, and since then, it has continued to make valuable contributions to the Council’s work and its activities.

“It is pertinent to also mention that Nigeria has been playing a key role in supporting the implementation of ICAO policies and programmes internationally, and particularly in the African region.

“To this end, Nigeria has ratified international air law instruments like the Montreal Protocol and amendments to some articles of the Chicago Convention. Nigeria is also championing the cause of Aviation safety, security and facilitation in Africa,” he said.

The President told the ICAO delegates that he approved the establishment of Aerospace University in Abuja to cater for research and development and provide manpower for the industry.

“In this regard, Nigeria is looking forward to the continued support of ICAO under its ‘No Country Left Behind’ initiative,” he added.

Buhari also assured that “Nigeria is fully committed to working with other States and supporting the implementation of the Global Aviation Safety Plan, the Global Air Navigation Plan, as well as the Global Aviation Security Plan,”

As part of its support, he said Nigeria, over time, seconded auditors to support various ICAO programmes in the areas of safety and security.

“We have also contributed experts on various ICAO technical panels, commissions and working groups.

“The Government of Nigeria has adopted a civil aviation policy, which is centred on liberalization and Public-Private-Partnerships initiative.

“These have resulted in huge investments in the nation’s airports infrastructure and services, increased capacity utilization and phenomenal increase in the number of domestic operators.

“Indeed, the domestic and international traffic has experienced tremendous growth since our assumption of office in 2015.

…more investments will be deployed into the provision of infrastructure and facilities for safe, secure, environmentally-friendly and sustainable civil aviation in Nigeria.

Also speaking, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, commended President Buhari for giant strides taken in the areas of aviation safety, security and development.

“Our profile improved significantly during your tenure, Mr President. Passengers rose from eight million to 18 million in four years, while security and safety also went up significantly,” he said.

Sustaining the strides

The ICAO Secretary-General lauded “the leadership role Nigeria plays in civil aviation in Africa,” saying the country’s record is one of the most impressive in the world.

“The number of airports has doubled; passengers are growing in spite of COVID-19.

“The record of safety is the most important performance indicator of all. I recognize the excellent work by your government to maintain high standards, in line with international best practices,” Salazar said.

Reiterating the importance of maintaining the track record, he stressed that there is no end line in civil aviation, “We keep chasing targets that go on and on.”

He urged the President to sustain the support being given to the sector, to attract further investment, tourism, and continued growth.

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