President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Ministry of Aviation to reorganize the agencies under its watch to conform with the new Civil Aviation Act recently signed into law.
The president hinted that the Act, which as a critical element of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), will further strengthen the sector for improved safety.
Buhari, in his keynote address at the 14th ICAO Air Services Negotiation event in Abuja Monday, noted that the Government of Nigeria has adopted a Civil Aviation Policy centred on liberalization and Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiatives.
This, he said, has resulted in significant growth of the industry, including huge investments in the nation's airports which has increased "our airports capacities and growth of the domestic airline industry".
The president, represented by his Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, said that having the unique and important event for the third time in Africa, demonstrates ICAO's determination and interest in supporting the sustainable development of air transport in the region.
"I therefore wish to take this opportunity to appreciate ICAO under the leadership of Mr. Salvatore Sciacchitano, the President of the ICAO Council, because one of the fundamental building blocks of the solid partnership between Nigeria and ICAO is our commitment to supporting the implementation of ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices, as well as the range of the organization's programmes and policies, particularly in the African region," he said.
According to him, "Nigeria continues to champion the cause of aviation safety, security and facilitation throughout the continent with our on-going support on the comprehensive regional implementation plan for Aviation Security and the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) plans.
"The COVID-19 pandemic further exposed the immense contribution and importance of air transportation as a catalyst for economic development, vital engine of global socio-economic growth, and one of the greatest contributors to the advancement of modern society and a key instrument for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This became more evident during the COVID pandemic.
"This is why my administration has placed aviation at the centre of its National Economic Development. Our collective efforts have enhanced aviation safety, security and efficiency. Huge investments have been made in the area of the provision of aviation infrastructure and facilities to further create enabling operating environment for more efficient and profitable industry."
Speaking further, the president said: "It is my belief that as Air Services Negotiators, this event will provide the required atmosphere for you to discuss, negotiate and come up with air services agreements that would further increase air connectivity and give the consumers of your services better travelling experience.
"Nigeria, as a member of the ICAO Council since 1962, has continued to collaborate with other member states in making valuable contributions to the work of the council and its activities including supporting the ideals and aspirations of ICAO, as well as achieving its strategic objectives.
"I wish to reaffirm, that these efforts would be intensified particularly in offering support and assistance to other developing states."
Similarly, the Minister of Aviation, Sirika, in his remarks at the event, thanked Mr President for approving the ministry's roadmap which has shown tremendous amount of growth by making Nigeria to debunk the general saying that aviation doubles every 15 years.
According to Sirika, "Actually, aviation tripled in four years under the Buhari government and Nigeria sees this event as an opportunity for African states to further the implementation such which will give more access to African airline aims to single aviation market."