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Aviation stakeholders seek execution of Dike’s report

By By Wole Shadare   |   09 May 2010   |   10:00 pm  
AVIATION agencies and industry stakeholders concluded talks with a ministerial panel on how to tackle the infrastructure crisis in Nigeria’s airports.

The stakeholders have however called for the implementation of the report of Air Marshal Paul Dike to address the problem.

The meeting, which was held last week in Abuja, was also attended by trade unions in the industry. Their focus was how to overhaul the facilities in the country’s four major international airports.

Members of the committee are drawn from the airlines, the aviation agencies, Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) and trade unions in the industry.

The stakeholders, including members of the committee urged Aviation Minister, Mrs. Fidelia Njeze, to adopt the Dike committee report.

The report adjudged as highly comprehensive and addresses the myriads of problems facing the sector.

The panel was set up by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2005 after the devastating crashes involving Bellview and Sosoliso airlines where over 200 people died.

Assistant Secretary General of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), Alhaji Muhammed Tukur, confirmed that the decaying infrastructure at the airports dominated discussions at their meeting last week, adding that urgent solution was needed to save the Lagos airport and others from system failure.

The four major international airports are those of Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt and Kano.

Tukur said management of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) at the meeting listed measures to be taken to turn around the fortunes of the airports, adding that government’s urgent intervention was needed.

He said: “We met with FAAN last week in Abuja on how to save these airports from collapse and we are urgently moving to restoring all the failed system in place.

Asked the need for a new committee when the Dike s report was yet to be implemented, Tukur said they have suggested that the report should be implemented, stressing that the report is a guide for their assignment, whose report would be submitted in a fortnight to the minister.

Dike submitted the report in 2006, where he proffered measures to tackle the manpower shortage in the industry, bailout for troubled airlines, facility revival, recapitalisation by airlines, autonomy for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

The upgrade of the facilities is believed to have started with the acquisition of new air conditioners for the departure hall of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, which are yet to be fully installed.

Airport users are often seen sweating profusely inside the hall, coupled with epileptic power supply to the airport, thereby heightening security lapses during passengers’ frisking, which is sometimes done manually.

Another issue of concern is massive touting at the airport and non-regulation of certain people masquerading as bureau de change operators in the entire area of the nation’s busiest airport.



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