Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Alex Badeh
Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Alex Badeh, has commended the remodeling work going on at various airports in the country, and affirmed that the Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah, is revitalising airports that had suffered neglect for a long time.
Badeh made this known when he paid a courtesy visit to the Minister in Abuja recently and reiterated that the airport facilities were in very bad shape before the appointment of Oduah, adding that the ongoing remodeling programme is a big relief to air travelers in the country.
“We want to thank Mr. President for his transformation agenda, and I must really, really commend you for what you are doing at our airports. The airports are wearing very new looks, but most importantly they are functional and they are good. Before you came on board, the airports were in terrible shape but all that has changed now. We want to thank you and urge you not to rest on your oars”, Badeh said.
He urged the Minister to rehabilitate and re-open the Mubi and Kaduna airstrips located in Maiduguri and Kaduna respectively to ease military operations in the fight against Boko Haram and other terrorists in the country.
Appreciating his visit, the Minister called for better collaboration and partnership between Civil and Military Aviation in order to enhance and guaranty the safety of the Nigerian airspace.
“For us, it is very crucial to have proper collaboration between Civil and Military Aviation, it is the only way we can all work in peace; and when we work in peace we will have efficient airports and operations will be hitch-free and seamless”, the Minister stated and called for regular forum “where we will meet as often as possible so that action can be taken on issues that need to be acted upon.”
She decried a situation at the airports where there are different and conflicting Command and Control Centres.
“I think it doesn't tell well of us that we are in a country where the Air Force Commandant is saying one thing and the Airport Manager or Director of Operations is saying something else and this is not good for our passengers. And because we are in civilian times and we are also dealing with international passengers, we have to be seen as coordinating and collaborating well.
“We must have a collaboration platform in all our airports because this will narrow the Command and Control centres, who is giving the instructions and why they are giving the instruction so everybody will be on board. We need each other for the Nigerian airspace to be safe and to have an efficient aviation sector”, Oduah declared.
The Minister spoke further on potential areas of collaboration between Civil and Military Aviation.
“There are many things civil aviation can learn from military aviation especially in the fields of maintenance and engineering and it is only through collaboration that this can be enhanced. I saw your hangars there are wonderful hangars and I know you must have spent tonnes of money to construct them.
“These hangars have commercial needs and through collaboration, the Air Force will earn additional revenue and we can have the technical back-up that we need in the industry. Our intention is to be the maintenance hub in the region. If we are going to accomplish that, definitely we are going to need your help”, Oduah said.
She disclosed that approval has been secured to rehabilitate and reactivate the Mubi and Kaduna air strips after a full assessment of these and other challenges facing airstrips across the country.
She thanked the Air Force authorities for granting the request to use part of the Makurdi Air Base as one of the 13 approved Perishable Cargo terminals in the country, stressing that perishables have the potential of transforming the nation's economy from bottom up.