FG Declares Maiduguri Airport Safe, as Arik Donates to IDP

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Chinedu Eze

The Airport Manager, of the Maiduguri International Airport, Alhaji Mohammed Saidu has assured air travellers that the airport is now secure as insurgency has significantly been curtailed.

Saidu stated this Tuesday, when Nigeria’s major carrier, Arik Air donated food and materials to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in Maiduguri as it resumed operations to the North Eastern city after three years hiatus.

Saidu said no airport in the country is as safe as Maiduguri, assuring airlines of safe and secure operations.

  “There is no safer airport than Maiduguri International Airport because we are conscious of what is happening in Maiduguri and Nigeria in general and we have not relented in our efforts to ensure the safety of air travellers. For example, we have clear visibility of over a thousand minima. We have double layers of perimeter fencing and in addition to that we have parapets, which are aimed to fortify security of the airport.

 Speaking to newsmen after landing at the airport, Arik Air’s Vice President, Northern Operations, Hamza Bukar, commended the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for restoring peace to the North East region.

Bukar recalled that the airline suspended operations to Maiduguri in December 2013 following the attack on the airport by Boko Haram insurgents.

“We are here in line with the achievements by the government of the day. They have done a very good job. Security in Borno State has been restored. The state is now in the eyes of the international community and that is why Arik wants to be a part of the success story. We want to complement efforts made by the government and we are here to reclaim our position as the pacesetter of aviation in West Africa,’’ he said.

Bukar said flights to Maiduguri via Abuja would operate three times weekly on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with the possibility of increasing frequency in the coming weeks.

On the airline’s donation to IDP camp located at the popular Teachers Village, Bukar said the gesture was aimed at supporting the efforts of the federal and Borno State governments in ameliorating the plights of those displaced by insurgency.

“This is one of the numerous corporate social responsibilities of the company to the state. It is our time to give back to the society,’’ he said.

Responding, the Camp Coordinator, Mr Ali Idi thanked airline for providing assistance to the camp which was accommodating 7,793 IDPs.

“For somebody to come all the way from Lagos to come and see the plights of the IDPs, it is commendable, and we thank Allah and the management,’’ Idi said.

He noted that the needs of the displaced persons were numerous and appealed to other corporate organisations and NGOs to support them.