By DANIEL ETEGHE
LAGOS — General Manager, Corporate Communications of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Yakubu Dati, yesterday, debunked rumours that the agency had borrowed $US500 million from China to acquire aircraft for domestic airlines operating in the country.
Mr. Dati, who affirmed that FAAN had not borrowed any amount of money whatsoever either from China or from any other country, stressed that the agency was not saddled with the responsibilities of acquiring the 30 aircraft as acclaimed by those peddling such rumours.
“FAAN has not borrowed $US500 million from China or any country for that matter. Furthermore, FAAN is not acquiring aircraft, as claimed in the statement. FAAN is a service provider in the industry and is currently occupied in translating the aviation transformation master plan into concrete realities.
“At present, the Authority is focused on the reconstruction of 22 airports across the country as initiated by the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah. The Lagos terminal 1, popularly known as GAT has since been commissioned while the remaining airports are at different stages of completion.”
He, however, pointed out that it is the Ministry of Aviation that is saddled with the responsibilities of making arrangements to facilitate the acquisition of the 30 aircraft to boost the operations of domestic airlines.
According to him, “the modalities are being fine-tuned, to checkmate the abuse of the aviation intervention fund. This strategy will plug the loophole that allows fortune seekers free access to these funds.
Other strategies are being deployed to grow the domestic airlines”
Mr. Dati further noted that the Ministry of Aviation was also making frantic arrangement towards the construction of brand new airports in 2013.
“The year 2013 will witness the construction of brand new airport terminals in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt, and the commencement of the Aerotropolis project; a concept that involves building cities around airports, and thus connecting businesses, suppliers, executives and goods to the aviation global world. The transformation of the aviation sector is on course,” he stressed.
He, however, cautioned the writer of the piece whom he identified as, Capt Dele Ore thus, describing him as being “on a wild goose chase” to stop giving unfounded allegations as it could send wrong signals to the international aviation community and hurt government’s sincere efforts to rejuvenate the ailing industry.