The Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, has said that the role of security in air transport could not be undermined, and that Nigeria needed to improve on its aviation security to meet new challenges.
He has also expressed support for the amendment of the Civil Aviation Acts, in order to enhance performance in the aviation industry.
Sirika made these known while receiving reports from the Ministerial Committee on the Review and Amendment of Civil Aviation Acts and the Committee on the Assessment of Aviation Security in Abuja.
Sirika said the effect of security on the industry and overall populace was of great importance to the government.
He said that security issues had overtaken safety in the aviation industry, considering the current trend in the global aviation security.
Reacting, Chairman, Ministerial Committee on Assessment of Aviation Security, retired Air Commodore Hambali Tukur, while submitting the report, said that security was one of the challenges confronting the industry.
He said that the committee had made some recommendations that would improve aviation security and ensure visible changes there, if implemented.
He, however, emphasised that the Committee, in the course of its assignment, did not certify any airport in the country, adding that it was not their mandate to certify any airport on security.
On the review of the Civil Aviation Act, Sirika said that the Civil aviation Acts in Nigeria which was first reviewed in 2006, was done in a rush, which made it inefficient, adding that for the aviation industry to achieve the needed change, efficient laws must be in place.
“Since 1964, no one has ever thought of amending the Acts and by the time we went to the National Assembly, in 2003, some of the offences in the aviation industry were still being charged in pounds. In 2006, the Civil Aviation Acts went through amendment. But, even at the time, I was more than convinced that the Acts was not sufficient, because it was done in a rush,” he said.
The Chairman, Committee on Review of Civil Aviation Regulation, Dr. Ibrahim Idris, said the Committee came up with some findings and recommendations.
He said that the Committee found that there was an overlap of functions by the agencies, whereby service provider agencies engaged in regulatory function.
He added that inadequate tertiary status in Nigerian College of Aviation Act was affecting the performance of the college, especially in assessing vital funds from Tertiary Education Trust Fund for its development.
According to him, the appointment, functions and tenure of the members of the board of agencies, as specified in the existing Acts, had affected the smooth performance of the agencies.
Idris also said that the proliferation and creation of departments/directorates in all the agencies and arbitrary usurping of various agencies’ powers were also prevalent.
He, however, recommended that the Federal Government should ensure speedy passage/enactment of the bill into law and ensure separation of powers among the agencies.
“Facilitate the upgrade of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) to a degree-awarding institution, empower Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMet) to commercialise some of its services and products.
“Remove impediments to smooth running and functions of all the agencies; ensure seamless co-existence between them and they should be encouraged to initiate avenue of generating more revenue.
“The power of review of sharing formula for communal revenues to be vested in the office of the Minister in charge of aviation,” he said.
The Committee, which was inaugurated on February 29, was made up of representatives from the Ministry, agencies, aviation trade unions and airline operators.
It was mandated to study, review and evaluate the existing Acts establishing the various aviation agencies, in line with current trends in the industry, amongst others.