Tuesday 14 May 2013

Who is afraid of the new national aviation policy?

Aviation Nigeria

by Yakubu Dati

In recent weeks there has been a string of deliberate misinformation, outright falsehoods and a fallacy of generalizations by elements who have manipulated the airspace and are afraid of the reforms. There has been a deliberate and mischievous attempt by these individuals who have been largely -driven by politics and pecuniary interest to pull wool over the face of Nigerians over the issue of private jet use. This same group have also sought to reduce the painstaking work to set global aviation best practices in Nigeria under the banner of the national civil aviation policy to mere politically linked charades of some individuals in the society. This however has amounted to a total amnesia of the global importance of aviation standards and the need to constantly guard lives and investments.

It is the latter that is the summary of why NCAP 2013 was formulated. Let us engage the issues further.  One of the democratic principles of the free world is the principle of Open Government a style of governance that is increasingly practiced in advanced climes to enhance democratic values. It is this premise that the Minister of Aviation employed to answer several questions from Nigerians and Nigerians in Diaspora via the micro blogging site called twitter. During the interview session with the foremost online news site citizensplatform.net which lasted more than an hour she espoused aviation policies of the government and also shed light on the massive reform going on in the aviation sector. 

One of the most frequently asked question bordered on the private jet guidelines and requirements, which had been selectively perceived by a certain section of the media; she rightly posited that "The sections of the policy which people are mixing up are related to insurance for passengers on private jets."

"There is nowhere in the new policy where friends are barred from being on board their friend's private jet." Oduah said.

She further stressed the need for sufficient focus on air safety and passenger insurance as well as a coordination of both: "Any insurance policy that indemnifies private jet owners in the event of an accident or mishap will be adequate."

It must be pointed out that one of the intrinsic beauties of democracy is the freedom of expression, the ability for all to come and freely express their views. So also one of the hall marks of the transformation agenda of President Jonathan as translated into practice by the Minister of Aviation Princess Stella Oduah. It is the foregoing that motivated Oduah to revamp the country's aviation policy in order to guard lives and investments in Nigeria. She said the formulation of the aviation policy had been ongoing for over a year adding that stakeholders were well aware and contributed to the development of the policy.

Those who are against the policies cannot be unmindful of the increasing acts of terrorism that is ongoing in Nigeria; they have turned a blind eye to the fact that the aircrafts are an integral means of transportation in the continuous proliferation of small arms and ammunition in Nigeria. So also there have been cases of the illicit ferrying of wanted persons of interests, drugs and foreign currency for several years.  The aviation policy is set to checkmate all these, but the traducers will not allow this truth to be told.

Nigeria is also a signatory to the Chicago convention where some of the statutes were agreed upon:

a) For private aircraft owned or leased by individuals, only the family members of the owner / lessee of the aircraft will be permitted on board as passengers.

b) For private aircraft owned or leased by companies or corporate entities only the employees and members of the Board of Directors of the Company will be permitted on board as passengers.

c) For aircraft belonging to non-scheduled or scheduled operators, only the employees and members of the Board of Directors of the company or the corporation may be permitted on board as passengers.

d) All operators will declare the identities of all passengers on non revenue Charter flights in the appropriate General Declaration Forms prior to obtaining ATC clearance.

So also the manual that contains flight duty time limitations which will be strictly monitored on regular basis.

The aforementioned are global aviation practices, Nigerians who clamor for change away from the fiasco of business as usual must embrace these new policies for these will go a long way in sanitizing our aviation sector, turning it around from the all comers and shylock business it has become over the years. No matter the level of misinformation and the casting of negative aspersions on the person of the minister or other officials of the aviation agencies, aviation best practices must be implemented for the common good of all, for the safety of lives and investments of all, including even those against the national civil aviation policy. 


Post a Comment