BusinessDay

Nigeria to sustain investments in aviation safety, says Buhari

...as ICAO boss visits

President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria will sustain investments in infrastructure and facilities that guarantee safety and security in Nigeria’s aviation sector.

Buhari gave the assurance when he received Juan Carlos Salazar, the secretary-general of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), at the State House, Abuja, on Tuesday.

According to the president, Nigeria would also support the ideals and aspirations of ICAO to attain its strategic objectives in collaboration with other member-states of the organisation. He said since becoming a member of the ICAO in 1962, Africa’s most populous nation 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,’’ Buhari said.

The president told the ICAO delegation that he approved the establishment of Aerospace University in Abuja to cater for research and development as well as 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.

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The president further noted that the Nigerian Government had established independent agencies in order to enhance aviation safety and security while ensuring effective and efficient provision and management of infrastructure in all aspects of the industry.

“These include the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), for safety and economic oversight of the industry; the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), for air traffic services, and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), for management of government-owned airports.

“The Nigerian Meteorological Agency for meteorological services; and the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, the nation’s main aviation training organisation, established in 1964 in collaboration with ICAO and the United Nations Development Programme.

He assured that the country Nigeria was 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.

Carlos Salazar, the ICAO secretary-general on his part, praised what he called “the leadership role Nigeria plays in civil aviation in Africa.”

According to him, the country’s record is one of the most impressive in the world.

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

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

He said it was important for Nigeria to maintain a good record as there was no end line in civil aviation. “We keep chasing targets that go on and on,” he said.

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