Friday 19 October 2012

We are determined to achieve zero accident rate in Nigeria - Oduah

Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah has restated government's determination to achieve a zero rate of air accidents in the country. She made the pledge in a Keynote Address at the 6th D-8 Working Group on Civil Aviation and Directors General Meeting in Abuja, Thursday.

While speaking, the Minister lamented that in spite of all the current effort being put in place to enhance air safety in the country, the Dana crash of Sunday June 03, 2012 underscored the fact that safety was a journey, and not a destination.

''This accident happened notwithstanding all our past efforts to promote safety. This clearly underscores the fact that safety is a journey, not a destination. There is only a departure, there is never an arrival with safety. We must remain focused and continue in our determination to achieve the goal of zero accident'', the Minister declared.

The Minister informed her guests of working extremely hard to reposition the industry in the past six years through a comprehensive safety reform agenda which focused on the  re-certification of the industry and resuscitation of aviation infrastructure. She explained that the new transformation agenda of the federal government of Nigeria in the past sixteen months is revolutionizing ''our airport experience and creating an aerotropolis - a new airport of the future''.

She expressed the desire for a strong collaboration  with other D-8 countries to further raise the level of aviation activities in Nigeria in order to make her air transportation the true  engine of economic growth. She said it has become very obvious, especially with the developing countries that pooling of resources is the best option in achieving sustainable growth and development of the aviation industry especially in the areas of safety, security, training and capacity building and provision of air navigation facilities.

''There already exists cooperation and business affiliation between our airlines and other D-8 countries' maintenance providers in the provision of heavy maintenance for Nigerian registered aircraft. Other areas that Nigeria urgently requires cooperation and collaboration are training/capacity building, airport operations, airline financing and operations'', the Minister added.

She further solicited the cooperation and support of the other D-8 countries in Nigeria's candidature for the Presidency of the ICAO Council in the election billed for next year. She informed the delegates that Nigeria's candidature, in the person of Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu has already received the endorsement of the African Heads of State.

Earlier in his Opening Remarks, Director General of the NCAA, Dr. Harold Demuren said the 6th meeting holding in Abuja is to bring together representatives of government and the  private sector to further deliberate and discuss contemporary issues in  aviation safety, security, air transportation, training, maintenance, airport infrastructure, airline financing and investments. He expressed the hope that ''these discussions would transform into a concrete D-8 cooperation and collaboration programme in civil aviation.

 D-8 member countries including Nigeria, Bangladesh, Turkey, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia attended the meeting. Representative from Egypt and Pakistan are still being expected.

By Joe Obi, SA (Media) to the Hon. Minister


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