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NASS to Enact Bill  for Single Security Administration for Nigeria’s Airports

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The House of Representatives is spearheading a major reform of the nation’s international airports in support of the Federal Government’s Ease of Doing Business, (EODB) initiative that will usher in a single security screening point for arriving and departing passengers.

This followed the outcome of the meeting with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Right Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, House Committee on Aviation, Committee Chairman on Health that of Agric Services and other relevant Committees’ Chairmenon which also included the leaderships of all the agencies operating at the airports and the Special Adviser to the President on the Ease of Doing Business, Dr Jumoke Oduwole.

At the the end of the crucial interaction which lasted for hours, Right Honourable Gbajabiamila based on the contributions from the stakeholders on how to achieve international best practices urged the Chairman of the Committee on Aviation, Honourable Nnolim Nnaji and other relevant Committees’ Chairmen to work with the heads of the aviation agencies to come up within two weeks a Bill that would ensure a single security outfit similar to Transport Security Administration, ( TSA) in United d States of America that would take charge of security at the airports.

He also said that the menace of touting and extortion at the airports must be tackled squarely with a more stringent measures adding that the problems remained unabated because there were no severe consequences.

The Speaker stressed that traveling through the airports must be made as seamless as possible noting that the level of stress and discomfort travelers go through at the nation’s prime gateways must be eliminated.
“Our airports must give travelers the comfort they deserve, the facilities must work” he added noting that situation must change forthwith.

The Chairman of the Committee on Aviation Honourable Nnolim Nnaji had also noted that Federal Government’s intervention was needed urgently to help FAAN fix the aging infrastructure at the various airports especially Lagos and Abuja which are the major gateways.

Honourable Nnaji’s appeal was sequel to an earlier explanation by the FAAN Managing Director, Captain Rabiu Yadudu that the Murtala Mohammed International Airport which is over 43 years old required total overhaul because all the facilities had been overstretched beyond their life span. He also disclosed that the airport generates 70 percent of the authority’s total annual revenue.

Also in her comments, the Special Adviser to the President on the Ease of Doing Business, Dr Jumoke Oduwole expressed appreciation to the leadership of the House of Representatives and the Aviation Committee Chairman Nnolim Nnaji for the initiative adding that the situations at the nation’s prime gateways remained a huge embarrassment to the country.

She shared the views of Honourable Nnaji that the kind of image some of the officials at the airports present of the nation could not in anyway promote the philosophy behind the Ease of Doing Business stressing that such was capable of scaring foreign investors.

The Speaker had directed the Chairman, Housing of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Honourable Nnolim Nnaji to invite the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN) Captain Rabiu Yadudu, the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, (NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu and the leaderships of all the agencies involved in facilitation of passengers and goods at the airports including the Special Assistant to the President on Ease of Doing Business, Dr Jumoke Oduwole to discuss the issues of touting and extortions at the airports.

Right Honourable Gbajabiamila who expressed his displeasure at what he described as viral videos circulating on social media about the ugly scenes at Nigeria’s International Airports said he had to ask Honourable Nnolim Nnaji to call for the meeting to see how such national embarrassment could be arrested forthwith.

The agencies invited for the meeting were, the Nigeria Police, the Nigerian Immigration Services, (NIS), the Nigeria Customs, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDKEA) Nigeria Centre for Diseases Control, (NCDC), the Port Health, the Plant Quarantine Services among others.

Some of the major agencies, the police, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA) and the Customs Service however did not attend the meeting which was held on Wednesday at the House Conference Room 028 in the afternoon.

The speaker who was not happy with the absence of those agencies however declared that their absence would not slow down the process of changing the ugly situation at the airports.

The Aviation Committee Chairman, Honourable Nnaji on behalf of all other chairmen and members present at the meting thanked the Speaker for his patriotic zeal and timely interventiosn on any issues that have to do with the progress of the country stressing that such have remained the driving force on all the chairmen and members of the 9th Assembly.

 

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Direct Flights Between Nigeria and Seychelles Soon, as both Countries Sign BASA

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Following the approval of the Federal Executive Council of the Memorandum on signing and ratification of Air Service Agreement between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Republic of Seychelles, the two countries have formerly ratified the Agreement.

Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika using the platform of the ongoing International Civil Aviation Negotiation (ICAN) event holding in Abuja, led officials of the Ministry to sign Bilateral Air Services Agreement ( BASA) while the Republic of Seychelles Minister of Transport, Mr. Anthony Derjacques, signed on behalf of his country.

Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika signing the BASA with Seychelles

During the ceremony, the two Ministers underscored the importance of the BASA as it will promote air services and connectivity between both countries, enhance business, and promote tourism.

Seychelles Minister of Transport, Mr. Anthony Derjacques endorsing the BASA with Nigeria

According to a statement by the Special Assistant to the Minister of Aviation on Public Affairs, James Odaudu, the two Ministers agreed that the signing would further promote the African Union Agenda 2063 and called on citizens of both countries to latch on the opportunities of the BASA for their mutual benefits.

Meanwhile, the Federal Ministry of Aviation has either signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and initial Air Services Agreement (ASA) with Senegal, Benin Republic, Ethiopia, Kenya, Finland, Cameroon, Morocco, Suriname, India, Sudan and Uganda.

The Ministry has also had discussions on how to further implement the open skies Agreement, signed 30 years ago, with the United States of America.

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Buhari Assures International Civil Aviation Organisation Of More Support

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President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria has assured the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) that Nigeria will continue to offer more support by making significant investments in the provision of aviation infrastructure for a safe, secure, environmentally friendly and sustainable economic development of the international civil aviation sector.

President Buhari made the commitment on Tuesday in Abuja when he received the ICAO President, Salvatore Sciacchitano.

Recalling the long history between Nigeria and ICAO, the President said:

“Nigeria has been a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) since 1962, and has continued to make valuable contributions to the ICAO Council’s work and its activities.

President Buhari with his Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika, ICAO Council President, Salvatore Siacchitano, Immediate past ICAO President, Bernard Aliu during the visit

“This country 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 all international air law instruments like the Montreal Protocol and amendments to some articles of the Chicago Convention,”

He told his guest that Nigeria was championing the cause of Aviation safety, security and facilitation in Africa.

President Buhari said, “I have recently signed into law Civil Aviation Act 2022. This is to reposition the industry to ensure continuous compliance with ICAO standards and to meet the challenges of a dynamic and rapidly growing air transport sector,” while assuring the ICAO President that the “Aviation industry in Nigeria is increasing by leaps and bounds.”

“I have also approved the establishment of Aviation and Aerospace University in Abuja to cater for research and development in the sector as well as the managerial challenges. In this regard, Nigeria has already started receiving the support of ICAO members like Qatar under the No Country Left Behind Initiative,”

The President expressed confidence that the aviation sector in Nigeria would continue to grow, affirming that “the roadmap of the Ministry of Aviation superintendent by Senator Hadi Sirika, is on course and together with other reforms of this administration will be sustained.”

While congratulating Mr. Sciacchitano on his re-election as President of the ICAO Council for the second term, President Buhari also appreciated the support Nigeria had enjoyed under his leadership, which, according to him, culminated in Nigeria’s re-election during the 41st Session of the ICAO Assembly.

The Nigerian leader informed the ICAO President that the aviation sector under this administration has more than doubled, noting that “It became the fastest growing of our economy Pre-COVID, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).”

According to him, “Passenger numbers were raised from 8 – 30 million. The five new airport terminals have added 50 million passengers to our capacity. All these within the time we are in government, namely seven and half years.”

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, in a brief remark, informed the President that the ICAO Air Services Negotiation (ICAN) event being hosted by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority “will provide States, either on-site or participating remotely, with a central meeting place to conduct bilateral, regional or plurilateral air services negotiations and consultations, as well as networking opportunities for policymakers, regulators, air operators, service providers and other stakeholders.”

He expressed delight at the post-COVID recovery of the country’s aviation sector, describing it as the second best in the world.

The ICAO President told President Buhari that the meeting offered an opportunity of interaction between the participants from about 160 countries and the Civil Aviation Authorities in the country, adding that more than 4,000 agreements are being signed by way of bilateral agreements.

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International Civil Aviation Day: Nigeria Remains Committed to ICAO’s Ideals – Sirika

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As the global aviation community comes together to celebrate the 2022 International Civil Aviation Day, Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has restated the nation’s commitment to the ideals of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

According to Sirika, the theme for International Civil Aviation Day 2022 which is, “Advancing Innovation for Global Aviation Development” aligns with the belief of the Nigerian government that Aviation is a channel to achieving the development of other sectors as it remains the fastest and safest mode of domestic and international movement.
This belief, he says, has informed Government’s commitment to the development of the sector for which it developed a roadmap at the inception of the Buhari administration.

A statement the Special Assistant to the Minister of Aviation on Public Affairs, Dr James Odaudu quotes Sirika as saying that the implementation of the roadmap has led to a number of record-breaking achievements in the nation’s aviation industry which have been variously acknowledged and applauded by ICAO.

“Globally, it is a well known fact that aviation doubles every fifteen years but in the case of Nigeria, it has more than doubled and in another fifteen years, it will quadruple”.
“According to the National Bureau of Statistics , aviation became the fastest growing sector of the economy pre-covid and during covid, the third fastest growing sector and after covid, according to Airport Council International, ACI, we are at a 111% of pre-covid numbers. Apart from Colombia, we are the only country on earth that recovered so fast, and we have added even 11% of pre-covid numbers”.

These statistics, according to Senator Sirika, reinforce the continuous commitment of Nigeria to the ideals and aspirations of the International Civil Aviation Organization whose regulations have continued to guide the industry in ensuring the safety records that the country has established.

“The Minister, on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, the government and people of Nigeria, congratulates the President of the ICAO Council, Salvatore Siacchitano and members of the global aviation community presently in the country for the ICAN22 event on the Day and hopes that Nigeria will continue to have the privilege of hosting more ICAO events in the future” the statement read.

The purpose of International Civil Aviation Day is to help generate and reinforce worldwide awareness of the importance of international civil aviation to the social and economic development of States, and of the unique role of ICAO in helping States to cooperate and realize a truly global rapid transit network at the service of all mankind.

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