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Airing the Truths about Aviation in Nigeria 

Airing the Truths about Aviation in Nigeria 

Yinka Olatunbosun 

A 330-paged book titled ‘Air Transportation In Nigeria: The Lingering Expectations’ by Olusegun Koiki and Chinedu Eze is set to take the reader on an excursion into the developments, prospects and challenges of Nigeria’s aviation industry. Tracing from inception in 1925 when the first Royal Air Force Squadron flew into Kano and Maiduguri and subsequently in 1946 when the West African Transport Authority was established, the authors dug through history to uncover extensive surveys that were carried out by the British Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Colonial Office for the then four colonial governments of Nigeria, Gold Coast (Ghana), Sierra Leone and The Gambia.

Written by two award-winning and seasoned journalists, this new handbook on Nigeria’s civil aviation industry serves as a pointer to the inherent problems stultifying the aviation industry, buffered by analysis and possible solutions.  Among the problems identified by the writers are inconsistent government policies, gaps in implementation, endemic corruption perpetrated by those saddled with the responsibility of ensuring the safety and effective management of the air transport system in Nigeria.

Split into 16 chapters, some of the titles include ‘Air Transport Development in Nigeria,’ ‘The Birth of Aviation Agencies,’ ‘Death of Nigeria Airways’ and ‘Deregulation of Nigeria’s Aviation.’

Koiki and Eze also examined policy formulation, policy summersault, concession challenges and prospects, as well as airline ownership syndrome respectively. 

Later on in the book, in depth study is done on the failed attempts of the new national carrier issues surrounding the untapped markets – alliance, collaboration, interline, and codeshare were discussed. 

Of particular interest is the analysis of the circumstances leading to the liquidation of Nigeria Airways in 2003 and the demand for a new national carrier after unsuccessful attempts to re-launch the carrier. The analysis and solutions proffered in the book can help the relevant authorities in the onerous task of giving the nation a new national carrier.

On the whole, the authors made an in-depth analysis of the problems bedeviling the industry and suggested solutions or the way forward.

Captain Musa Nuhu, the Director-General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, attests to this when he writes in the foreword to the book thus, “It is commendable that the authors put in a lot of work, but what is interesting about the book is that it was written by journalists who have detached disposition to look at issues from the observer perspective, digging deep without sentiment and chiding misdemeanors that begat the dark days in the sector. The book exposes us to salient issues, which we must ponder about as stakeholders.”

Chinedu and Koiki relied on their wealth of knowledge and experience garnered in coverage of the aviation industry over the last 30 years cumulatively, aided by their journalistic skills of research as the basis of inquiry into the phenomenon of civil aviation in the country, alongside their methodical presentation of findings to deliver a masterpiece.

The book’s offerings will be beneficial especially to the Ministry of Aviation and all those at the helm of affairs in the regulatory agencies, aircraft owners, current and prospective managers of our airports as well as all those saddled with the responsibility of ensuring safety and effective management of air transportation in the country.

‘Air Transportation in Nigeria’ is a must-read for aviation students, researchers, and scholars in our tertiary institutions and public libraries in the country. Written in a lucid style, the authors were motivated to write the book by their “desire to put past and present activities in the sector in a permanent document.” 

It is generally believed that a problem known is half solved. Still, whether the government and those at the helm of affairs of the aviation industry would take advantage of their insight into the myriad of problems identified and the solutions proffered is different ball game.

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