By Daniel Idonor
ABUJA—EXACTLY seven years after the flag-off of works on the Total Radar Coverage Nigerian Airspace, TRACON, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday commissioned the project.
The Nigerian government, through the Ministry of Aviation, is investing 66,500,870 Euros in the project which was executed under an agreement sealed in 2003 between the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, and Thales S.A of France.
Already a total of eight other locations now host the same project, following the completion of installation work across the country.
The project comprises four Primary Radar and five Secondary Radar Heads co-located in Nnamdi Azikwe, Murtala Muhammad, Malam Aminu Kano and Port Harcourt International airports.
TRACON, which is now operational after all hurdles, has five relay stations which serve as standalone Secondary Surveillance Radar located at Talata Mafara, Maiduguri, Numan, Obubra and Ilorin.
President Jonathan noted at the commissioning that the project was another stride by the present administration to overhaul the aviation system and raise it to international standard.
“This is another deliberate stride by this administration to provide safe and secure airspace across the country.
“The sector is currently undergoing transformation from its past state of disrepair to conform to international standard,” the president said.
According to him, the TRACON project is coming at a time Nigeria was awarded category 1 status by the international aviation community, adding that this was a befitting gift for Nigeria’s 50th anniversary.
“The TRACON equipment installation is a good milestone and a good 50th anniversary gift to Nigeria,” he said.
President Jonathan commended the Minister of Aviation and her team, as well as NAMA for bringing to fruition the vision which was birthed seven years ago.
The Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Fidelia Njezeh, is the seventh minister to work with seventh project team and Jonathan is the third president to commission the project before its completion, according to the Acting Managing Director of NAMA, Nicholas Udoh.
Njezeh, in her welcome address, admitted that the journey towards the realisation of the milestone was not an easy one.
She noted that the project was birthed to give surveillance to the airspace, ensure safety of all aircraft within the Nigerian airspace to avoid collusion.
“This will make Nigeria a force to be reckoned with”, as it is the third after Egypt and South Africa to attend this status.
The architectural design of TRACON consists of Voice Communication Systems, Voice Recording Systems, Very High Frequency Transceivers, fibre optic, Display Consoles, Integrated Aircraft Billing systems and spares while radars at the international airports comprise of both the primary and secondary radars.
It will be recalled that between 2005 and 2006 alone, Nigeria witnessed two ghastly air crashes that claimed several lives.
The TRACON projects which was embarked upon to address the safety needs of the industry is also aimed at providing total coverage for the Nigerian airspace in order to enhance civil and military surveillance of aircraft (s) operating within the country.
Present at the occasion are the Governors of Delta and Rivers, members of the National Assembly, Head of the Civil Service Federation, some members of the Federal Executive Council, the Chief of Defence Staff and Service Chiefs amongst others..