By Sade Williams
The Senate committee on Aviation on Monday, expressed concerns over poor communication facilities at the nation’s airports, mandating the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to immediately work out modalities to fixing it.
Speaking at the headquarters of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Bala Ibn Na’Alla, deputy chairman of the committee, who represented Adamu Aliero, the chairman of the committee on an oversight visit, said the Senate has received series of complaints about the situation, saying it is dangerous for the system.
He said pilots and air traffic controllers have continued to complain about the problem which he said have persisted for a long time without adequate quarters looking into it.
According to him, despite huge investment by the Federal government in the system, communication in the airspace in Nigeria remained epileptic even when smaller countries like Senegal and Ghana are enjoying smooth communications.
Raising eyebrow over aviation fuel scarcity, he said it was disappointing to know that airlines have to go Ghana to re-fuel even when they are coming to Nigeria, adding the cabals in oil sector for selfish reasons, may have contributed to the problem.
Emma Anasi, managing director of NAMA, said the network was designed in 1980 and commissioned in 1994, adding however that the Agency has not been able to establish new routes to man the networks.
According to him, the problem has also been compounded by the fact that the facilities are manufactured outside the country adding that technology too has advanced and there is need to advance with it.
Speaking on the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON), Anasi said the facility was working well against some speculations adding that even-though NAMA runs it on generating sets at most station for 24 hours, there are engineers on ground who monitor it all the time.
He lamented that domestic airlines have taken their debts to be bad debts but that the Agency ‘now ask them to pay in advance if they must fly’.
Also speaking, Saleh Dunoma, managing director of Federal Airports of Nigeria (FAAN), noted that the Authority’s project implementation had been hampered by paucity of funds, noting however that plans were in the pipeline top begin renovation of Abuja, Akure and Enugu airports’ runways.