A Maritime Lawyer and former President Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Barrister Olisa Agbakoba, has said that for Nigerian aviation to compete favourably with aviation sectors in the developed countries, it must have a sustainable aviation policy.
The legal practitioner, who said this at a media briefing in Lagos, also called for a review of the over 70 Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASA) signed by Nigeria with other countries, as they have not been beneficial to Nigeria.
Agbakoba, who was represented at the briefing by Partner, Corporate Commercial and Public Sector Group, Olabisi Akodu and Head Corporate Commercial, Olisa Agbakoba Legal, Victor Nwakasi, stated that Nigerian aviation cannot be built on nothing, calling on stakeholders to partner to provide a sustainable policy for the industry.
Akodu said that the major challenges the aviation industry has is the non-existence of aviation policy, lack of political will by both present and previous government to implement government policies and policy somersault.
She frowned at a situation where a project started by one government was jettisoned the moment the initiator was out of office and another government takes over.
Speaking on Fly Nigeria bill, she said that government sponsored passengers constitute a significant percentage of the flying population with billions paid to foreign airlines annually as capital flight.
She added that United States took advantage of this fact by enacting the Fly America Regulation, which according her, requires Federal employees, dependent, consultants, contractors, grantees and other persons government financed air travel to US flag air carrier.
Akodu said they will still push forward with the Fly Nigeria Act but when all the necessary requirements were put in place by the organisation through a legislation.
On the absence of a national career, the legal luminary said it was sad for a country of over 170 million people to be without a national carrier adding that the country has lost over N5tr and between, N100b and N 200b annually without an airline.
She was over the opinion that setting up a national carrier will encourage the Fly Nigeria Act adding it has been the impediment to the policy.
Akodu appealed to service providers at the aviation sector especially the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria FAAN to build capacity that can accommodate bigger aircraft in the near future.
She further called for the inclusion of Aviation into the National Development Plan as a result of its important role in the economy adding that there must be an action plan the sector.