Sirika: Why FG is Embarking on Airport Concessions

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Dele Ogbodo in Abuja

The Minister of State for Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika, has said the federal government is set to concession the Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano International Airports because it can no longer afford the resources to develop and maintain them to meet standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

A statement made available to the media by the ministry wednesday in Abuja, quoted the minister as making the disclosure during a solidarity visit to the President of ICAO, Dr. Olumuyiwa Aliu, on his re-election in Canada.

The minister, according to the statement, assured Aliyu of success in his bid for re-election, just as the organisation’s 38th assembly gets underway in Montreal, Canada.
The statement read: “The minister who gave the assurance during a visit to the ICAO president in his office said aside of the powerful mobilization Nigeria bad embarked on his behalf, Aliyu’s sterling achievement during his first tenure more than guarantees the support of other member nations.

“Briefing the ICAO President on developments in the aviation sector in Nigeria, the minster emphasised on his focus of ensuring air safety, security and comfort of the teaming air passengers which he said was in line with recent resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on Civil Aviation Security.”

Sirika also intimated him of government’s decision to concession some airports back home. This, he said has become necessary as government can no longer afford the resources to develop and maintain them to meet standards set by ICAO.

On aviation fuel known as Jet A1, which has become a source of concern to airline operators in Nigeria, the said he had met with the Minister State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, promising that efforts are currently on to ensure that refineries begin to refine the product locally.
Responding, the ICAO president, expressed delight at visit with the minister and the Nigerian delegation and assured them of a fulfilling time in Canada.

He expressed his gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for taking out time to receive him during his visit to Nigeria recently.

He equally thanked the minister for his efforts to ensure his re-election as ICAO president.