By Chinedu Eze
The federal government has called on the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to reinforce measures to curb security threat on air travel.
The call was conveyed by the Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika at the weekend during the 39th ICAO general assembly at ICAO Headquarters in Montreal, Canada, as Nigeria urged member states to continue to put in place proactive measures to curb ever-increasing threat to security on civil aviation.
Sirika said the call was coming at a time when global terrorism attacks at airports across the world were on the rise and experts in various countries were seeking for coordinated intelligence gathering and sharing of security information among stakeholders.
Sirika noted that Nigeria continued to participate in the ICAO’s Public Key Directory (PKD) and support ICAO’s effort to provide assistance to other West African states in their resolve to introduce e-passport.
He explained that stakeholders were at the meeting to seek new strategies that would make air transportation safe, secure, efficient and above all environmentally friendly so as to ensure the growth and sustainability of the aviation industry globally.
“We are also in consultation with the United Nations to establish aviation security training schools in Nigeria and these schools will serve not only Nigeria but the entire sub-region.
“Nigeria reaffirms its believe that ICAO should be the forum through which all aviation technical issues relating to environment must be resolved. I therefore express the full support of Nigeria for the efforts being made by ICAO to minimise the impact of aircraft engine emissions on our environment as well as the work of the council committee on aviation environmental protection,” Sirika said.
The Minster therefore called on member states especially the developed countries, financial institutions and donor agencies to support this initiative with a view to assisting this to implement ICAO’s Standard and Recommended Practices (SRP).The Minister remarked that prior to this initiative, Nigeria had been collaborating with ICAO and African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) to promote safety in the West Africa sub-region through the hosting and subvention funding of Banjul Accord Group Aviation Safety Oversight Organisation (BAGASOO), the aviation safety organisation.
Sirika assured that Nigeria would continue to champion the advancement of civil aviation in the sub-region through the continuous hosting and sponsorship of ICAO’s safety, security, air transport and environmental programmes, including comprehensive regional implementation plan of aviation safety in Africa.
“Within the last two years we have made major strides to promote safety in our airspace. This was confirmed with the success recorded by Nigeria in the ICAO audit.
“We have also successfully retained Federal Aviation Administration (of the US) Category One rating. Presently, we are reviewing the primary aviation legislation, Civil Aviation Act 2006 to ensure that Nigeria civil aviation authority continues to exercise requisite power and full autonomy to regulate aviation safety without political interference,” the Minister added.