Tuesday 4 September 2012

Aviation Ministry responds to Kano and Abuja International landing slots

A Press Statement by Bar. Mark Jacob Esq., Special Assistant, Legal Matters to the Minister of Aviation.
It is not correct that the Honourable Minister of Aviation has prevented any  International Airline from landing in Abuja  or Kano neither has the Minister diverted any Airline to Enugu as alleged. Where Airlines take off from and or land are issues guided by Commercial Agreements and in such agreements the airlines are concerned about profitability and not regional or political balancing especially foreign Airline Operators, who know little or nothing about any Northwest or South East. The decisions by operators to fly particular routes are taken solely based on commercial viability, safe operating environment and of course availability of aircraft. Thereforce the Minister and or even the National Assembly cannot dictate to an Airline Operator on the subject matter.
On the Emirate and Etihad issue, I was at a meeting with the Honourable Minster recently with these Airlines and I am aware that contrary to the falsehood being circulated, the Minister made a strong case for the decentralization of the Operations of these Airlines from Lagos and in line with International practice, presented commercially convincing data showing the possible commercial benefits that the Airlines can get if they start operating from Lagos, Kano and Enugu. The Airlines were convinced to look at these and went a step further to even sign some Agreements. 
I read with amazement the contents of that report particularly the comments credited to one Honourable Chanchangi who is the Vice Chairman of the Aviation Committee in the House of Representatives. In his position he could have just placed a call to anyone in the Aviation Ministry to confirm the position of things or at least limit his comments to reasonable responsible standards. For anyone to recourse to regional or tribal horse on matters like this, without verification, is a disservice to the nation.  Nigerians must stop this sort of sensationalisation!  He threatened that they will summon the Aviation Minister! That the Minister should resign. While awaiting the summons it is necessary to say that the National Assembly and any other public institution must be mindful of whom they appoint as leaders. The situation where people like Chanchangi with a track record of failure in running Chanchangi Airline are made to superintend the Aviation Committee is a clear display of conflict of interest and insensitivity to public records. While it may be correct to appoint professionals to committees of relevance, it is unacceptable and a clear show of insensitivity to appoint businessmen and adventurers who have clear records of failure in the particular field to such committees.
This matter is just one of those matters that come up as tools of cheap blackmail and insult, otherwise when the Minister refurbished the abandoned, decayed hajj terminals / camps in Kaduna and Kano last year and transformed them to beautiful edifices, why did the honorable members not remember she is Igbo. Probably, the South Eastern Christian members of the House of Representative should have called her names or call for her removal from Office.


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