Abuja - The Presidential Amnesty Office said on Sunday that it planned to train about 200 pilots under its youth empowerment programme.
The Presidential Adviser on the programme, Mr Kingsley Kuku, made the disclosure at a pre- departure ceremony in Lagos for the first batch of 21 pilots to be trained in the programme.
Kuku said that the training was part of efforts to address the gap in manpower development in the aviation sector.
According to him, the pilots are to be trained as pilots for 15 months at the JetStream Aviation Academy in Athens, Greece.
``This will bring to 215 those that have been trained in aviation-related fields by the Amnesty Office since its inception.’’
He added that the Amnesty Office had also noticed a gap in ground staff and aircraft maintenance engineers.
Kuku said that some of the people undergoing training under the amnesty programme have had to switch over to areas of manpower needs.
``Thus, they have diverted to courses like airport management and ground handling, where they will earn a degree in South Africa, Greece, Dubai and Jordan.’’
Kuku said the quest by some Nigerians to acquire private jets had brought to the fore the need to train more pilots and other aviation personnel to man the growing sector.
``If you go to the General Aviation Terminal wing of the Nnamidi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, you will see that there are more private jets than commercial jets, `` so, there is a space to be filled,’’ he said.
He also said that there were plans by the Amnesty Office to collaborate with the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology at Zaria in Kaduna State.
``The college would be giving further training for delegates that had already qualified as pilots in South Africa for the processing of their pilot conversion and aircraft rating licence.
``The management of the aviation college has assured the Amnesty Office that it can bring some of its delegates to Zaria for all round training in aviation,’’ he said .
Kuku told the students to be good ambassadors of Nigeria during the training programmes.
``The Federal Government will no longer tolerate any act of indiscipline by the delegates.
``The new policy is that if any of you run foul of the laws of the countries where you are undergoing training, the laws of the affected countries will take its course,'' he said.