insists that Air Nigeria will continue to run until the end of the Buhari administration
By ogun Omoniyi Adedeji
Sen. Hadi Sirika, the minister of aviation, stated on Wednesday that the Senate is powerless to halt the ongoing demolition of offices belonging to organizations engaged in aviation-related work at Lagos’s Murtala Mohammed International Airport.
This was said by Senator Sirika after the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting, which was held in the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in Abuja under the chairmanship of President Muhammadu Buhari.
His statement came after the Senate passed a resolution ordering the government to halt demolition so the Senate Committee on Aviation, led by Senator Biodun Olujimi, could make an intervention.
Olujimi had brought the warning strike by the National Association of Aircrafts Pilots and Engineers, the Union of Air Transport Employees, the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, and the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals to the attention of the upper legislative chamber.
Sirika, in response to a query on the subject, argued that the Senate resolution is merely advisory and cannot prevent the government from carrying out its duties.
The National Association of Aircrafts Pilots and Engineers, the Union of Air Transport Employees, the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria,
When asked about the Senate’s decision to halt the demolition of FAAN buildings, Sirika responded, “First of all, let’s put it in perspective. The government intends to demolish the building that houses the managing director of FAAN’s office as well as those commercial buildings.
It’s a wooden structure that has been there for 40 years. Even under our administration, it has caught fire twice. We want to build hotels, shopping centers, offices, movie theaters, and other things there to make room for better development of what Lagos has developed into. Lagos is the gateway, so we want to do this so FAAN and other organizations can profit more.
“And there are about 150 or 200 people in the entire building. Government departs
“The Lagos government demolished some homes on our camp just the other day. We have been battling that issue for a while; after we won in the Supreme Court, they had to make way for construction. It’s in everyone’s best interest.
Nobody can make the government drag out the process. Who is going to stop me as a government if I want to demolish this hall and construct a better one?
So, in my opinion, there is no problem; they are simply overheating it, and you already know why. But because we have a duty and a mandate, we are not afraid to act in a way that will benefit our people. Additionally, we respond quickly.
Everywhere we go, we have a history of doing things that advance civilization. So, this one will also greatly improve your life.
Those who are opposed to it undoubtedly don’t want to keep the Lagos airport in its current state.
Therefore, a select few people won’t prevent 250 million Nigerians from experiencing the joy of having something they’ll travel outside of Nigeria to see. The general public will yell outside, “These leaders don’t travel? Dubai is a big deal, so you want to give something similar to Dubai, but someone is refusing. Common!!.”
The Minister, in the meantime, reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring that Nigeria’s national airline, Nigeria Air Limited, launches operations within the remaining days of the known buhari administration.
“Three weeks seems like a long time to me. Yeah. It will fly by God’s special grace, and keep in mind that we didn’t begin today. We began doing this in 2015. In 2016, we created the road map and hired transaction advisors. We started planning in 2016 and haven’t stopped since.
“Many airlines arrived; we, the Buhari administration, licensed more than 50% of the current airline fleet in Nigeria. One of the airlines, United, which appeared in court today, was granted a license by the Buhari administration even though he had never visited the minister’s office. He was unaware of it. We gave him the permission, ValueJet.
“I first encountered him at the opening of Ogun Airport. Uza Rano Air
Therefore, we didn’t prevent anyone from doing it. By the grace of God, we will succeed in giving Nigeria the airline it deserves in terms of market, population, centrality, and every other factor. Insha Allah, we’ll get it done, he promised.
When questioned about a sustainable plan for the new administration, Sirika responded, “Well, we are committed and fortunately it is APC that will be in power again. We are dedicated to this project because it benefits both travelers and the economy of Nigeria.
“You’ll all concur with me that, regrettably, about 60 of them were lost during the reigns of Cabo, Okada, Harco, Chanchangi, Albarka, and the others.
“We invited each and every one of them to come and do it the way we think it should be done. It is our responsibility to guide them to do it right. However, it is a matter of personal preference and no one has prevented any airline from operating in Nigeria; Max Air, United, all of them, will go and hire professionals; however, if they choose to continue operating that way, that is their decision and their business. Nevertheless, we will persuade them to do so and provide Nigerians with what they are due.
However, why not if we declare that we are going to create an airline that is driven by the private sector and employs the best government talent? Additionally, they were all given the chance to travel.