…as Nations mark International Civil Aviation Day
By Sade Williams
As Nigeria joins the rest of world to mark the International Civil Aviation Day, Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has stated that the goal of the on-going restructuring in the aviation sector is to properly reposition it to contribute more to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and also place Nigeria in a position to give leadership and direction to other countries within the Sub-Saharan Africa region .
According to the Minister, this is in line with the objective of the International Civil Aviation Day, which is to help generate and reinforce worldwide awareness of the importance of international civil aviation to the social and economic development of States, and of the unique role of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in helping States to cooperate and realize a truly global rapid transit network at the service of all mankind.
The Buhari Administration, he says, recognizes the potentials of the aviation industry to impact positively on the economic development aspirations of the nation, and this has therefore informed the priority attention being accorded it.
Speaking further, Sirika said, “Nigeria has long ago endorsed the “Working Together to Ensure No Country is Left Behind” initiative of ICAO, which has been adopted by the Organization as the theme for the International Civil Aviation Day.
“Nigeria has been supporting the aviation industry in the sub-region. We have Banjul Accord and BAGASSO domiciled and headquartered in Nigeria and being funded largely by Nigeria. Nigeria will continue to play the key role in leading aviation in the West and Central Africa.”
He further reiterated that the proposed concession of some of the nation’s airports, establishment of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities, establishment of a national carrier, Aviation Development Bank, Aerospace University and other initiatives were all part of the overall roadmap to ensure that Nigeria becomes a regional hub for air transportation, with the attendant economic multiplier effects
The International Civil Aviation Day was established in 1994 as part of ICAO’s 50th anniversary activities. In 1996, pursuant to an ICAO initiative and with the assistance of the Canadian Government, the United Nations General Assembly officially recognized 7 December as International Civil Aviation Day in the UN system.
According to the Minister, Nigeria has continued to receive worldwide acclaim and endorsement for the steps taken to reform its aviation industry, with global industry giants besieging the country to secure partnership with the government on the implementation of the roadmap.
He also cited the recent re-election of Nigeria’s Dr Olumuyiwa Bernard Aliu as President of the Council of ICAO in Montreal, Canada which also came on the heels of Nigeria’selection into the Part 2 of the Council. These , he said , were clear evidences that the nation’s aviation industry is headed in the right direction .