President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that Nigeria will continue to make significant investments in the provision of aviation infrastructure for safe, secure, environmentally friendly and sustainable economic development of international civil aviation.
The president made the commitment in Abuja when he received in audience the President of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Salvatore Sciacchitano, on Wednesday in Abuja.
While recalling the long history between Nigeria and ICAO, the president declared:
“Nigeria has been a member of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) since 1962, and has continued to make valuable contributions to the ICAO Council’s work and it’s activities.
“This country has been playing key role in supporting the implementation of ICAO Policies and Programmes internationally, and particularly in the African region.
“To this end, Nigeria has ratified all international air law instruments like the Montreal Protocol and amendments to some articles of the Chicago Convention.”
Buhari told his guest that Nigeria was championing the cause of Aviation safety, security and facilitation in Africa.
“I have recently signed into law Civil Aviation Act 2022. This is to reposition the industry to ensure continuous compliance with ICAO standards and to meet the challenges of a dynamic and rapidly growing air transport sector,” he said.
The president assured the ICAO President that “aviation industry in Nigeria is increasing by leaps and bounds.”
“I have approved also the establishment of Aviation and Aerospace University in Abuja to cater for research and development in the sector as well as the managerial challenges.
”In this regard, Nigeria has already started receiving the support of ICAO members like Qatar under the No Country Left Behind Initiative,” he noted.
The president expressed confidence that the aviation sector in Nigeria would continue to grow.
Buhari affirmed “the roadmap of the Ministry of Aviation superintended by Sen. Hadi Sirika, is on course and together with other reforms of this administration will be sustained.”
While congratulating Mr. Sciacchitano on his re-election as President of the ICAO Council for the second term, Buhari also appreciated the support Nigeria had enjoyed under his leadership.
This, according to him, culminated in Nigeria’s re-election during the 41st Session of the ICAO Assembly.
The Nigerian leader informed the ICAO President that the aviation sector under this administration had more than doubled, noting that “It became the fastest growing of our pre-COVID economy, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).”
Buhari also said that passenger numbers were raised from 8 – 30 million.
He said: ”The five new airport terminals hHeave added 50 million passengers to our capacity. All these within the time we are in government, namely seven and half years.”
In a brief remark, the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika had informed the President that the ICAO Air Services Negotiation (ICAN) event was being hosted by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.
According to him, the event “will provide states, either on-site or participating remotely, with a central meeting place to conduct bilateral, regional or plurilateral air services negotiations and consultations.
”Similarly, there will be networking opportunities for policy makers, regulators, air operators, service providers and other stakeholders.”
Buhari expressed delight at the post-COVID recovery of the country’s aviation sector, describing it as the second best in the world.
The ICAO President, told Buhari that the meeting offered an opportunity of interaction between the participants from about 160 countries and the Civil Aviation Authorities in the country.
According to him, more than 4,000 agreements are being signed by way of bilateral agreements.