By Lawrence Olaoye
There are indications that President Muhammadu Buhari may order probe
into circumstances leading to the liquidation of the defunct Nigeria Airways.
The President gave this indication yesterday while receiving the President of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Muyiwa Aliu, at the State House.
According to a statement made available to newsmen by his Spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, Buhari said he was under tremendous pressure from many Nigerians to approve the establishment of another national carrier.
The President said he refused to budge to the pressure because Nigerians would like to know what happened to the defunct Nigeria Airways.
Shehu wrote “On the setting up of a national airline, President Buhari said he was under tremendous pressure from many patriotic Nigerians desirous of establishing one.”
Buhari was quoted as saying: “I equally support a national airline for both patriotic and economic reasons. We have enough trained citizens including pilots and engineers. But Nigerians need to know how we lost the one we had before.”
While emphasizing the determination of his administration to speed up the improvement of aviation infrastructure in the country for the benefit of the country’s economic development, Buhari declared his total support and commitment to work with regulatory agencies in the aviation sector to make air travel safer throughout the country.
The President, who received three awards recently won by Nigeria from ICAO, expressed delight with the high ranking accorded Nigeria in safety and security at the airports, following measures put in place to address gaps in airport security.
The Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who led the ICAO delegation, informed the President that Nigeria was hosting the meeting of International World Aviation Forum in Abuja starting today, the first time such conference will hold anywhere outside Montreal, Canada.
He said over 40 aviation ministers and representatives from 70 countries, the World Bank, African Development Bank, manufacturers of planes and aviation equipment will attend this year’s conference focusing on “Financing Development of Aviation Infrastructure.”
The President of ICAO, who is a Nigerian, commended Buhari for fast-tracking policy initiatives that changed the fortunes of air travel in Nigeria, describing the reconstruction of the runway at the Abuja airport as a rare feat.
On behalf of the ICAO, Mr Aliu presented a certificate of recognition of the School of Aviation, Zaria as a regional center of excellence; the certification of both Abuja and Lagos airports which have attained ICAO standards for the first time in history, and another certificate marking the attainment of the International Organization for
Standardization ISO 9001, 2015 by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency.