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Senate wants national carrier, review of aviation sector


Abuja – The Senate on Thursday, passed a resolution calling on the Federal Government to establish a national carrier in the aviation industry.
It also called for holistic review of the nation’s aviation sector to enable it to compete favourably with others in the world.
Besides, the senate constituted a committee to evaluate the issues militating against the growth of the sector in the country.
These followed a motion by the Deputy Leader of the Senate, Ibn Na’Allah, who lamented that in the past 20 years, many indigenous airlines had sprang up and went under in the country.
He argued that it could not have been possible that all the airlines went into extinction because of bad management.
According to Na’Allah, something must be militating against airline operations in the country.
“This senate therefore has to look deeply to find out what is wrong so that it can be corrected,’’ he said, adding that countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, Turkey generated a lot of revenue from their national airlines.
He said it was necessary to find out what the airline operators did with bailout funds given to them by the Federal Government some years ago.
Contributing, Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekwerenmadu, said that out of the airports in Nairobi, Addis Ababa and Abuja, ‘’the Abuja airport is the worst’’.
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“We have not shown sufficient commitment to the transport sector; when we had Nigeria Airways, government’s officials allocated seats to themselves but they never paid.
“We need to ensure that the management of the Nigerian aviation sector is grounded on integrity; it has to become the pride of the nation,’’ he said.
Ekweremadu commended President Muhammadu Buhari for insisting that Nigeria must have a national carrier.
Sen. Shehu Sani (APC Kaduna Central) said that Nigerians were being exploited through exorbitant fares charged by airlines of other nations.
He insisted that a national carrier was not just the pride of a nation but was also part of the security of a nation.
“The Nigerian Airways, we should do everything possible to return it.
‘’This sector has seen a lot of intervention but nothing has changed, so I will strongly suggest that we look at the possibility of having a national carrier,” he said.
In his remark, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, commended the mover of the motion, saying that Nigeria ought to have resolved the challenges in the aviation sector.
At the end of plenary, the senate adjourned till Sept. 29. (NAN)

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