Lawmaker Calls for Upgrade of Safety Critical Facilities at Airports

Nnoli Nnaji

Chinedu Eze

The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nnoli Nnaji, has called for the installation of safety critical facilities at the airports to enhance safety in air travel.

The committee also promised that it would push for the approval of Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) fund, if possible, to make it available for the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to provide those critical facilities.

Nnaji, said such support would help NAMA to ensure it dutifully carries out its functions of Communication, Navigation and Surveillance (CNS) for the continued safety of the nation’s airspace.

Nnaji, who responded to questions after a tour of some NAMA navigational facilities recently, including its newly installed Category 3 Instrument Landing System (ILS) commended the airspace managers and said there was room for improvement, which they will assist to come about.

“We visited the air side of the runway, having the different navigational aids and equipment, TRACON (Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria), ILS DVOR (Instrument Landing System and Omnidirectional Radio Range) equipment and other supporting equipment for navigational services. “We saw also the need for upgrade which the Managing Director told us is on. We noticed the manual operations in TRACON, when we got to the control tower, we also saw the digital aspect of it.

“It is highly commendable that we have such equipment on ground, but we also believe that with government support, those facilities need to be upgraded, other airports across the country need to follow suit, not just Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt.

“When budget implementation of 2020 will commence, those issues he mentioned will be taken into consideration. We are also looking at the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) which we also believe we will pass, if we pass the IGR and the budget allocation, they can do a lot of things. The critical thing for NAMA in the short term is the passage of the NAMA act so that it will conform with the modern trend, and oversight what they are doing,” he said.
According to him, it is important to make sure the airspace is safe and secure as the roads are not what they should be so air travel is the way to go for now.

“Right now we are having a lot of challenges and difficulties on our roads and a lot of peoples prefer to travel by air and it is not the time we should tour with our air services. This is the time for everybody to come together to see how we can support the air industry that is the thing that is available now.

“We are here to see how we can support the various projects and things the agency plans to execute. NAMA is a very critical agency that provides air navigational aids. We are open to support NAMA, whatever we can do, both from the legislative point, we have a bill that was sent by Mr. President to us.

“Very soon we will call for the public hearing and you also need to come, if there is anything, support, any amendment that you need, any advice that you need to give when we hold the public hearing, it Is a joint task that we all come and make sure that the institution is very sound,” Nnaji also said.

According to Nnaji, it has become very imperative that every agency in the aviation industry should come together to push the industry forward stating that, “on our own side, we would do everything possible to make sure that NAMA become one of the best in Africa and during the budgetary allocations we will make sure we push a lot to see how NAMA will gain some fund for projects that are uncompleted and we can support funding for NAMA.”

Reacting, the NAMA boss, Captain Fola Akinkuotu, agreed that the committee could help the agency in two areas: “Two areas where the committee will help us is the passage of the Bill and modification as required as well as in funding to be able to catch up with some of the areas, we need more funding. It is good the NASS members are here to see what we have and what we need and what we need to upgrade on,” he said.