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Aviation sector in shambles when I assumed office - Oduah

11 December 2013, 06:45

Abuja - The Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, said on Tuesday that the aviation sector was in a state of decay when she assumed office in July 2011.

Oduah said this in Abuja when she appeared before the Senate Committee on Aviation to explain the circumstances surrounding the Associated Airlines crash on October 3.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the aviation minister has failed to honour three previous invitations to appear before the committee.

She said prior to her assumption of office, the aviation sector was in shambles as all airports were laden with obsolete and unserviceable safety and security facilities.

According to Oduah, “I met decayed infrastructure such as air conditioning, toilets, trolleys, elevators, directional signage and power generators at all airport terminals.”

“There were several abandoned control towers all over the nation. We had 154 abandoned control projects all over and several runways without runway lighting.”

“There were massive leakages of agencies' revenues due to manipulation of manual revenue collection process.”

“The industry was in retrogression, lagging behind other parts of the world.”

“Economically, it was a net liability to government and thus a very poor image for the country,” she said.

The minister blamed the Associated Airline crash on its technical crew.

She also showed a two-minute video clip of the conversations between the two pilots showing that both engines of the aircraft were faulty and should not have taken off.

“As a minister of aviation, the fact that we got preliminary report in our laboratory without waiting for the final report showed that we have put in place preventive measures.”

The Senate Deputy Leader, Sen. Abdul Ningi, who represented the Senate President, David Mark, however, rejected the explanation by the minister.

Ningi directed Oduah to re-submit a detailed presentation on the incident because her explanations failed to address the circumstances surrounding the accident.

Ningi observed that the minister did not provide details about the processes that led to the take off of the aircraft on the fateful day, especially those who failed to alert the regulatory agencies.

“What we expect you Honourable minister to come and tell us here is whether your investigation had revealed those who approved the aircraft for the flight operation.”

“We also expect you to tell us when the aircraft was last serviced and who supervised the maintenance and certified it okay.”

“Your explanation was just limited to the immediate cause of the crash; we want you to come back and give us those critical information,” Ningi said.

The committee adjourned the meeting to December 11.

-    NAN


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