Tuesday, 11 September 2012

In defence of the Ministry of Aviation - Benedict Onuoha

Abuja lounge now
This piece was written by Benedict Onuoha...read and let us know what you think...
Let talk about the changes in our airports, for those who travel often; you will agree that there has been a face lift of some major airports in Nigeria
As time has shown, a lot of things do go bonkers in Nigeria. It is commonplace to, in this country of ours, blame any and everything that goes wrong, on officials in government, and this sometimes overshadows the good and the change that is being effected by some of them in office.

Kano Exterior Now
Unbiased watchers in the aviation industry can attest to the fact that a number of new developments have been going on, under the drive of the oft-criticized Princess Stella Oduah.
For as long as I can remember, no other minister has been more vocal in matters of a domestic sector than Oduah, who has put in a lot of efforts at reshaping the industry, more than Harold Demuren’s Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

A lot of routine developments have been gradually occurring, one of which is the planned construction of the Aerotropolis.

For the unaware, an Aerotropolis is a city whose layout and economy are centered around an airport. The airport is more or less the centre of attraction and connectivity and there are a number of businesses that spring up from the everyday activity of air passengers including fashion hubs, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and most importantly, hospitality. These businesses contribute massively to the GDP of the country. The first African Aerotropolis is currently being constructed in Ekurhuleni, South Africa.

As it stands, there is none of such projects in Nigeria and only recently, the minister on her roadshow to attract investors, caught a very big fish, the Chinese government. The latter is to partner with the Ministry of Aviation in building such infrastructural facilities in Nigeria.

Also, each time I go through any of our airports, it is hard not to behold the developmental changes specific to each in the ongoing facelift, and not smile proudly. These changes, everyone can readily attest to.

Completed Doppler Weather Radar @ Abuja
The Akanu Ibiam Airport, Enugu was only recently shutdown for some scheduled repair and maintenance work and new facilities have equally been installed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport, Abuja; the Port Harcourt International airport, Omagwa and the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) in Lagos.

As sources say, five new international airport projects are to be embarked upon in the nearest future and as we all agree, this will be a big boost for the Nigerian aviation community and will ease the congestion and over-reliance on both the Abuja and Lagos airports.

I look forward to the time where our airports can be as sophisticated as international airports like the Gatwick Airport, London and the Changi Airport in Singapore. While the road (or flight?) to Zion may not be smooth, it seems sure at the end of the remodelling. Carry go, Minister!


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