….say change from Authority to Administration will not fly
“We will not wait till there is a mishap before we start looking at fixing the runways”, this is the submission of Senator Adeyemi Smart, Chairman Senate Committee on Aviation when the Committee visited the Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Lagos during their oversight visit to Lagos airport.
Senator Adeyemi said, they were worried over the conditions some of the airport runways were in, adding that they were in bad shape and a number of them since they were constructed, they have never been upgraded or rehabilitated.
“When you land on some of these airports you don’t need to be a pilot to know that the plane will not maintain a balance”.
He said, the Committee was happy to see the improvements on and inauguration of the Enugu airport runway and commended the minister of Aviation, adding that same attention should be paid to other airport runways in the country.
“But of course the are quite a lot of airports that we need to start looking at budget inclusion for next year not this year”.
“Of course you have done a number of jobs remodeling our airports, quite a number of our airports today can compete favourably with some of the advanced nations in terms of infrastructure and facilities available and of course quite a number of our airports too are better not to be called airports”.
The Senate Committee Chairman emphasized that, though the country had come a long way as far as aviation was concerned but that the time had come to look beyond that standard , “or comparing ourselves with that standard of other African countries, looking at the resources, the traffic flow of our nation. These are the things that dictate the standard and growth of the aviation industry anywhere in the world. If you look at the aviation in terms of resources available, the position we are occupying in Africa, of course our aviation industry should be ahead quite a number of other African countries”.
“Let me congratulate the management that our airport is the best in Africa but for mew we should be looking beyond Africa and looking at how we compete with developing nations”.
He also stressed the need for the FAAN Management to ensure that workers are well taken care of and given the necessary incentives for them to be productive and alive to their duties.
“In this industry, it not just the facilities that must be good enough, the workers must be comfortable, the workers must be happy”.
Senator Smart however announced to the FAAN Management that, their proposal for change of name from Federal Airports Authority to Federal Airports Administration, was a contentious issue and law makers see it differently and it may not fly looking at the submissions before them.
On the request to keep a good percentage of its resources generated internally, Senator Smart stated that, he had nothing against it as it would be good to keep so to be able to carry out the ever increasing need and to update the facilities of the industry but it was an issues that bordered on constitutional provisions as money must be appropriated for.
He assured the FAAN Management that they would be visiting on a regular basis to ensure they were judiciously using the money appropriated to enhance the infrastructure at the nation’s airports to promote safety, security and comfort of travelers.
“We want you to know that in the course of this visit we may not be able to carry out holistic oversight but we came to interact with you and assure you that in this new year we thank God that COVID is now being checked globally and so we expect a more robust atmosphere for business and enterprise globally and more activities in the airports than what we had last year. What that will demand from us is that our oversight will be more regular this year. The next few weeks, we will knock at your door and would be able to properly articulate some issues bordering on money we want to see how they were spent; we want to see what has been achieved”.