The General Manager, Corporate Communications of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Hon. Yakubu Dati, yesterday refuted the allegation by the Kano State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, was working against the economic interest of the state.
In an interview with LEADERSHIP SUNDAY, Dati described the allegation as untrue and mischievous.
The Kano State PDP Chairman, Alhaji Halilu Dantiye, had accused Oduah of refusing to grant four airlines permit to operate in Kano.
Dati said: "This accusationis purely unfounded and even mischievous. In the first place, the airlines in question have secured permission from Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA) to land and fly in Lagos, Abuja and Kano, and that gives them free access to operate in those areas. They have already commenced operations in Lagos and Abuja.
The ministry is even encouraging them to commence operations in Kano. The issue is beyond the minister stopping them from landing in a given airport. They are guided by the BASA to operate, so to say that the minister denied them landing rights is untrue.
"In fact, it is mischievous. Even the third airline that was mentioned-Sky Airline, we don't even know of its existence. The records are there and people should check them before making statements as sensitive as this," he said.
Dati noted that the minister had been very"generous" to the north because the region has been in the minister's plan to remodel the aviation industry.
According to Dati, one of the first projects the minister embarked upon when she assumed office was the Kano Hajj Terminal and Abuja Hajj Terminal,which commissioned the Sultan of Sokoto, MuhammaduSa'adAbubakar III commissioned.
He said the Sultan made a case for the extension of the gesture to Sokoto, adding that the minister had since approved it and the project had taken off. "These are facilities that were improved for the well-being of the people, especially those in the north.