PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the Min­istry of Aviation to imme­diately start the process of securing the management of the Nigerian airspace over the Gulf of Guinea from Ghana. He has also ordered the Ministry to expedite action on the establishment of a new national airline.
The nation’s national car­rier, Nigeria Airways, estab­lished in 1958, was liqui­dated in 2003 under heavy debts, mismanagement, inefficiency and corruption. Ghana has been maintain­ing the airspace over the Gulf of Guinea since 1945.
The President gave the directive when he received briefings from the officials of the Aviation Ministry, led by the Permanent Secretary, Binta Bello, at the Presiden­tial Villa. Addressing State House Correspondents after the briefing, Bello said the Pres­ident was actually worried that Nigeria does not have a national air carrier, hence the instruction to re-estab­lish one.
On the airspace take over directive, she said it is com­ing at a time when some oth­er neighbouring countries were making moves to take over their own airspace too. “We have a directive by the President to start the process of securing the man­agement of the Nigerian air­space over the Gulf of Guin­ea, which Ghana has been maintaining since 1945 and there is a move on ground by Togo and Republic of Benin to take over their own airspace from Ghana.”
On the establishment of national carrier, Bello said, “the President is quite con­cerned about lack of na­tional carrier for now and he has directed the Ministry to look into the possibility of having a national carrier as soon as possible.”
The Permanent Secretary added that she briefed the President on the four inter­national terminal buildings that are being constructed across the country. She said the buildings would be ready for commis­sioning at the end of the first quarter of 2016.
Bello said she also briefed Buhari on the chal­lenges domestic airlines were facing despite the Fed­eral Government’s N300 billion intervention fund. She regretted that despite the intervention, many of the airlines are still heavily indebted to regulatory agen­cies.