Utomi: Under LP Govt Airports Will Function in Line with International Standards

Chinedu Eze

Labour party stalwart and renowned political economist, Prof Pat Utomi has criticised the present state of Nigerian airports, saying if voted into power, his party would make sure that airport facilities meet international standards.

Utomi said this yesterday, during the quarterly Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative Business Breakfast Meeting in Lagos with the theme: ‘Aviation in Nigeria Beyond 2023 General Election Challenges & Prospects’.

 He said there was no reason why Nigerian airports should not be properly managed to provide common services that meet up to international standards which are obtained in other African countries that lack the resources compared to Nigeria.

 “If we get into government, we would fire any airport manager if in six months the airport he manages does meet standards seen in other parts of the world.

“What is so difficult about having a toilet that is clean that people can use at our airports? Our politics should be about detailing how things happen and how people should be held accountable if it does not happen. We travel all over the world and come back to see something different.” 

“This will no longer be allowed,” Utomi said.

Speaking on some of the plans of the party for the aviation industry, Utomi said the party plans to expand to many cities in Nigeria and link such cities using intermodal transport systems.

He said there has to be rail systems and small propeller aircraft and airports linked to these hubs, adding that the aviation industry has to be positioned to drive these developments.

 Utomi said the biggest challenge to development in Nigeria was weak institutions.

 “This is no longer the moment for politics of transactions. It is time to redeem the nation. When people know there are consequences for their actions, then they will begin to do the right things,” he added.

He said once a government insist on the rule of law, institutions would begin to do what was right.

Also speaking at the event, the President of the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative, Gabriel Olowo, said a major issue that should be addressed in the industry was who takes responsibility for the financial losses airlines and service providers incurred during the recent strike that disrupted business activities at the airport?

 “A domestic carrier reportedly lost N500 million due to abrupt shutdown handling services. We strongly condemn the strike and management’s inadequate response. With apologies, adequate compensation should be provided to all parties affected,” Olowo said. 

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