Air Safety  Challenges : NAMA Appeals To NASS  To Place Agency On Priority List

* Capt . Fola Akinkuotu



…As Committee Assures Agency Of Support To Enhance Air Safety



The Nigerians Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has appealed  to the National Assembly to give the  agency  priority as it addresses the  communication equipment which according to  it  are archaic and needed replacement.

This is just as the agency condemned the incessant vandalisation of its equipment across stations by vandals, warning that such dastardly acts endangers air safety in the country.

The Managing Director of NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu,  made the appeal at the weekend when the Senate Committee on Aviation,led by its Chairman, Senator Smart Adeyemi visited the  agency’s office  at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), continuation of the committee’s oversight function.

Akinkuotu explained that NAMA had invested in navigational aids in recent times, but lamented that some of the assets were regularly vandalised by hoodlums and called for improved security for its assets at airports and stations across the country.

The NAMA boss disclosed that the Federal Government had given approval for the installation of three Category III Instrument Landing Systems (ILSs) at Kano, Port Harcourt and Katsina Airports, saying that this would further enhance the coverage of the country’s airspace.

The country he said did not foresee the current security challenges in some parts of the country, adding that the agency’s navigational equipment at Iju area of Lagos was vandalised.

Akinkuotu stated that the agency was linking all its stations with the Information Communication Technology (ICT) and appealed to more funding for the agency.

“NAMA has made good efforts in recent times to build on what we have in the past few years. We installed two different Category III ILS equipment, which gives you different minima.

“However, there is the need to protect NAMA assets at all stations, including the Iju area of Lagos. I would have loved to take you there, but for lack of time at this moment. The fact is we never foresaw the current situation in the country. Some of our facilities have been vandalised in some stations.

“We need your support to further upgrade our facilities, especially our communication gadgets, which are archaic.”

Speaking, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Smart Adeyemi, said that the Upper Chamber was aware of some of the challenges facing the agency and promised to help it overcome them in the interest of air safety

He point out that the importance of NAMA in the aviation industry can not be underestimated

According to him,  “I know that the safety we enjoy in the aviation industry is not unconnected with the contributions of all of you in this agency. I salute you for this. You have done excellently well. Aviation in Nigeria today is something we should be proud of. We may not have attained the level that people want to see, but seriously speaking there are areas that when you look at it in aviation, we can say we have not done badly.  We have had a very good track record of safety, but I think we can do better.”

He continued, “You have said a lot of things that bother on safety, you talked about communication, navigation and surveillance that talk about safety and that is the major issue in the aviation industry. Once people are sure of their safety, they would fly.”

The Chairman also promised that the National Assembly would accelerate the six aviation agencies’ bills seeking to change their Acts in the next few months.

Some of the challenges facing the agencies, especially NAMA, he said would be addressed through the new bills, assuring that whatever would be passed by the assembly would pass the test of time.

He commended NAMA and other aviation agencies for the achievements recorded especially during the COVID-19 pandemic lock down.

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