By Kenneth Ehigiator
ABUJA – The federal government has dismissed insinuations of a deliberate plan to marginalise the North in aviation infrastructure, especially with regards to citing cargo terminals at Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport and alleged denial of landing rights to some foreign airlines into the airport.
The House of Representatives had summoned the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, to explain why the foreign airlines were denied landing rights into the airport.
Her summon was based on claims by some members that she was deliberating denying the north of its due in economic empowerment through the aviation sector.
But reacting to the allegation of northern marginalisation yesterday, the minister said two of the airlines, Emirates and Etihad, cited in the alleged denial of landing rights had never indicated interest in flying into Kano, even though they had the rights to do so, in line with Nigeria’s Bilateral Air Services Agreement, BASA, with their home governments.
She also said Ethiopian Airlines, another carrier cited in the alleged landing rights denial, had landing rights to Kano which it had not started taking advantage of, adding that it was already operating the slots to Lagos and Abuja.
She said: Recently, the media has been inundated with misinformation and deliberate falsehood alleging marginalisation against the Northern part of the country by the Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Oduah with regard to the citing of Cargo Terminals as well as landing rights by some foreign airlines into the Malam Aminiu Kano International Airport, MAKIA, Kano. Nothing can be further from the truth.”