President Muhammadu Buhari has emphasized the determination of his administration to speed up the improvement of aviation infrastructure for the benefit of the country’s economic development.
Speaking while receiving the President of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Muyiwa Aliu, at the State House, Abuja on Monday, he 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.
On the setting up of a national airline, Buhari said he was under tremendous pressure from many patriotic Nigerians desirous of establishing one.
“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,” he said, referring to the defunct Nigeria Airways.
Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who led the ICAO delegation, informed the President that the Nigeria was hosting the meeting of International World Aviation Forum in Abuja starting on Tuesday, 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.”
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.