Ugo Aliogo, and Omotayo Ajayi
The Chairman of Air Peace Nigeria, Mr. Allen Onyema, has called on the federal government to build storage airports in the Northern part of the country in order to boost growth in the aviation sector.
Onyema, who stated this in Lagos recently at the closing session of a five-day training organised by the foundation for Ethnic Harmony in Nigeria (FEHN) on non-violence for members of Arewa, Indgenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and other agitators, said if government invests in storage airports, it would provide more revenue to the economy, create jobs and improve the growth of the aviation sector.
He said the choice of locating the storage airport in the Northern part is due to the climate of the region, adding that the region is suitable for such facilities and it would strive better there.
He maintained that if the country has one or more storage airports, new airplanes from other countries can be kept there, which would provide revenue for the economy, stressing that there are a lot of untapped opportunities in the sector which government has to tap into.
The Air peace Chairman also noted that they have acquired three Boeing; B777, B777, B737 and 6Embraer145jet which is presently kept in a dry storage airport in France.
Onyema, who is also the Chairman of FEHN said the five days training programme has helped to engender unity and the spirit of nationhood amongst the various interest groups that participated.
He further stated that if the country is committed at achieving progress, there is need to pursue peace and justice, adding that conflict in itself is not too bad; because it can be a catalyst for positive change.
He said that with the conclusion of the programme is that they have entrenched the values of peace and unity in the participants which would have a positive effect on the country, adding that the training also featured examinations which would qualify participants to attend the next phase of the training in Emory University in US.
The participants were presented with certificates after the training and examination.
â€œThe reason for choosing the North is due to the climate. In the north is more conducive. The south is not conducive. However, it doesnâ€™t matter where it is sited. In terms of funding, we are financially disciplined in Air Peace. Regarding the issue of concession, government has no role doing business. If they concession the two airports, they have done the right thing. Murtala Mohammad Airport 2 that is been run by the private sector, it is the best airport in the country.
â€œIn concession of these airports, they need to assure the workers they would not lose their jobs. Remember when government is doing business, there is the tendency to over employ and when you over employ, it doesnâ€™t help businesses grow.
â€œWhen we borrow money we ensure that it is invested into what it is meant for and we donâ€™t borrow out of limits. We have built an integrity which speaks for us and the banks are willing to continue business with us because of that. Well, for the concession of the airports, I feel what government has done is a step in the right direction,â€ Onyema said.
He urged private investors to create wealth in the country by investing in the youths through job creation and empowerment programmes, stressing that this would get a lot of youths out of the streets.