Stakeholders in the aviation sector in northern states have expressed their opposition to the directive given by the minister of aviation, Mr Festus Keyamo, for relocation of some of the runway lights in Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport to Murtala Muhammed Airport ( MMIA, in Lagos.
The stakeholders are demanding a full clarification of the position of the Federal Government on the pronouncement made by the minister recently while inspecting facilities at the MMIA on the relocation.
Acknowledging a statement issued by the management of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on Sunday, which refutes the minister’s pronouncement regarding the relocation order, the northern aviation community wants the minister to come clean on the matter.
NCAA, Nigeria’s aviation regulatory agency, in a statement signed by its director-general, Captain Musa Nuhu, had described the information attributed to Mr Keyamo in various new platforms concerning the runway lights as false, stressing that there is no move towards that effect.
However, the stakeholders said that further clarification from the minister is necessary to end what they believe was an attempt to remove the MAKIA runway lights that could lead to reduced activity at the new international terminal at the airport.
Making the position of the stakeholders known to Business Day, Abdulaziz Sabitu Mohammed, the managing director of Arafat Air Services Nigeria Limited, noted that the minister’s pronouncements, which were aired on national televisions, are of significant concern to the stakeholders.
“We, the stakeholders in the aviation sector in the northern part of the country, wish to express our opposition to an ongoing move by the new aviation minister, Mr Festus Keyam, to relocate some runway lights from Kano airport to MMIA, in Lagos.
“Although NCAA came out with a statement yesterday (Sunday) saying that the information was false, we want the minister to come out clean on the issue because of the controversy it is already generating.
“While acknowledging the NCAA’s stand as expressed in its communication, we wish to put it on record that based on standard practices in government, establishments such as NCAA are organs under the ministry of aviation and a decision like the relocation of runway lights is dominated by the minister.
“We are mainly more concerned about the pronouncement of the minister as this is coming against the backdrop that construction work in the new International Terminal in MAKIA has remained unfinished even though it was commissioned by immediate past president, Muhammadu Buhari, on May 26th, 2022.
“Our opposition to any attempt to relocate some runway lights at the airport is based on the prevailing reality. As one of the critical stakeholders in Nigeria’s aviation sector, we desire that MMIA function well; we, however, do not want that done at the expense of the Kano airport, which is the oldest in the country”, he explained.
Mohammed, who is the former Vice-President Corporate Affairs at the Kano Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (KACCIMA), revealed that the stakeholders noted that since the commissioning of the international terminal at the airport, the approach gate has been uncompleted.
Also, he stated that the roads linking the new terminal to many facilities at the departure and arrival part had not been completed.