By Umar Muhammad Puma
Concerned over the safety of passengers flying the Sokoto route, the House of Representatives has directed the Ministry of aviation, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), and all the relevant authorities to urgently fixed and put back to use the Instrumental landing System (ILS), in the Sultan Abubakar III International Airport, Sokoto.
In a motion under ‘matters of urgent national importance’, read by Rep. Abdullahi Balarabe Salame (APC Sokoto), noted that the Instrument Landing System is a ground-base instrument approach that provides precision guidance to an aircraft approaching and landing on a runaway, using combination of radio signals and in many cases, highly-intensive lighting arrays to enable a safe landing during Instrumental Meteorological Condition (IMC).
He further noted that this important instrument was destroyed since 2012, while an aircraft carrying pilgrims was in the process of landing on the runaway and crushed over the landing system that is fixed on the threshold of runaway; since then it has not been repaired, as a result of which the airport experience diversion, delay and cancellation of flight coming into the airport, both domestic and international.
He revealed that the airport is the second largest international airport in northern Nigeria after Aminu Kano International airport, and one of the busiest airports in the country, whereby at least two domestic airlines operate on a daily basis. It was also been used by the three states of Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara state for airlifting their pilgrims to Hajj and Umrah every year, where over twelve thousand pilgrims depart from and to Saudi Arabia.
He expressed concern that if the ILS is not urgently repaired and put back to use as soon as possible, it will jeopardize the lives of both travellers and operators in the airport.