Sen. Hadi Sirika, the Minister of State for Aviation has been commended for the recent transformation in the industry.
A coalition of some independent platforms, which consisted of Market Youth Congress of Nigeria, Igbo Trades Support Group on Good Governance and Yoruba Women Traders Support Group, also lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for ensuring growth in the country despite the arrays of challenges facing the nation.
Speaking with aviation correspondents at the Murtala Muammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, Mr. Victor Amadi, who spoke on behalf of the others, said that Sirika’s tenure as the minister in the sector had given Nigeria the highest rating in air safety and under whom the nation’s two busiest airports; Lagos and Abuja were certified for the first time in the annals the country.
Amadi noted that when Sirika was appointed in 2015, many airport infrastructure were in disarray, but said that the narrative had since changed as the minister swung into action to address infrastructural deficit in the system.
“We recall that the Kaduna Airport was merely functional in the sense that there was passenger facilitation. But, we recall that the passenger terminal was in total disrepair and out of use because the failed remodelling programme of the previous administration left it in disuse.
“After searching for any way possible to totally rehabilitate the runway of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja while flights were going on and it became obvious that for efficient work to be carried out at the airport, it must be closed; the minister decided to rejuvenate the Kaduna Airport”, he said.
He said today Kaduna airport processes passenger for international flights, while Ethiopia Airlines operates from the terminal.
On the rehabilitation of Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport runway, Abuja, Amadi emphasised that Sirika ensured that while other works were going on at the Abuja airport, the terminal was improved; expanded and new departures were created at the ground floor of the airport.
He added that new lifts were equally installed so that those who were physically challenged could use the lifts to the departures.
On Lagos Airport, he reiterated that plans had reached an advanced stage to install Category 3 Instrument Landing System (ILS) at the Airport, adding that the Minister had reiterated that Buhari’s administration would concentrate in providing safety critical projects at the airside of the airports across the country.
He explained that in order for that to be attained, Sirika had been rehabilitating the airport runways, installing and building perimeter fences to improve security at the airports.