Taraba State governor, Danbaba Suntai, and Aviation Minister, Mrs. Fidelia Njeze, have stressed the need for governmentâ€™s continued funding of Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, NCAT, Zaria, Kaduna State, if the institution were to wear the toga of being the hub of training in West and Central Africa.
While the minister was in the college to commission the new fire tender and trainer aircraft recently acquired by the college to boost its facilities, the governor visited to undertake his first solo flight in his efforts to obtain a Private Pliot License, PPL.
Njeze said the federal government was committed to ensuring that the college continued to churn out pilots for the aviation sector to address the problem of aging workforce currently confronting the industry through increased financing.
In this regard, the minister said the college would soon take delivery of a simulator, not only to facilitate training of students in the school, but also for airlines in the country to take advantage for their crewsâ€™ simulation training.
According to her, airlines can now save the foreign exchange they expend in sending their pilots overseas for simulation training.
The minister commended the Rector of the college, Capt. Adebayo Araba, for the adept manner he had ran the school for it to continue to churn out pilots, engineers, air traffic controllers, cabin crews and other personnel for the aviation industry in the country.
On his part, Governor Suntai said because aviation could be a main driver of a countryâ€™s economy, the federal government should inject more funds into the college, stressing that aviation was synonymous with constant training and re-training of personnel to enhance safety and security of passengers and property.
Commending the rector for driving the college to its present height, the governor said: â€œ I have said it time and again that Captain Araba is an extra ordinary leader in this country. A man that each time I come around here I met going around in his uniform mixing up freely with the instructors and students.
â€œI am not surprised that he has change a lot of things, I have heard the story of how this school was yesterday and I am highly impressed with what I see about this school
today, thanks to Capt. Araba.
â€œI am so proud of him and I am prepared to, in anyway possible, support his vision and prepare to speak where I can speak at the federal level for him to be encouraged to succeed in taking this school to a standard that can be acceptable anywhere in the world.â€
He said the federal government should now begin to put the right persons in the right places in terms of appointment, adding that aviation was too technical to be given to just anybody to run.
On his assessment of the nationâ€™s aviation sector, Governor Suntai said: â€œ My assessment of the aviation industry is that it is an industry that you must put the right people at the helm of affair. â€œYou must put people who has knowledge to be able to run the place, even from the minister down. It is an important sector that you cannot just bring anybody there, you have to bring experienced people who know the sector very well. And I believe that if you bring them they can run it better.â€