By Emman Ovuakporie & Johnbosco Agbakwuru, with Agency Reports
Kaduna—The Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has declared the Kaduna International Airport functional, as Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, closes temporarily from the midnight of Wednesday, March 8.
This is even as the House of Representatives yesterday advised the Federal Government to buy and install Instrument Landing Systems, ILS, in all airports across Nigeria to save Nigerians from the vagaries of poor weather.
Sirika, made the declaration on Kaduna International Airport yesterday while addressing journalists after receiving the first international flight of the Ethiopian Airlines and Azman Airlines’ domestic flight at the airport, reiterated that government temporarily closed Abuja Airport for six weeks to make way for rehabilitation of the runway.
The minister said the event signaled the first day of the Kaduna operation which would last for six weeks, reiterating that the closure of Abuja airport would not exceed the deadline.
According to the minister, those who are in doubt should begin to believe government some more.
He said: “This is a big and huge lesson for us that we should not abandon our duty post wherever we find ourselves, to avoid similar situation in other sectors.
“We should be alive to our responsibilities all the time and once you are faced with an emergency, you should take it up and do the best you can to get out of it.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives yesterday advised the Federal Government to install Instrument Landing Systems, ILS, in all airports across the country to save Nigerians from the vagaries of poor weather.
The legislators said this became necessary, following the inability of all airports, aside from from Abuja and Lagos, to operate beyond 6.30pm.
A member, Igariwey Iduma Enwo, PDP Ebonyi, who promoted the motion regarding the matter, expressed concern that most airline operators were operating their aircraft at half capacity due to the absence of requisite Instrument Landing Systems at most of the airports that could allow them fly at all times of the day and night.
“This is a point where we reach in believing ourselves and bringing the necessary change and taking up the challenge to make things work.
“So for me, I think it is important because when things are going wrong, you should not fold your arms and say it is impossible.
“Here we are, we thought of it, the logistics are humongous but we did the best we can and right now, we have overcome them.”
The minister expressed confidence that foreign airlines yet to fly to Kaduna would still come and commended Ethiopian airlines for standing with Nigeria in time of need.
According to him, the country has identified its friends in times of need.
“I believe that British Airways, Lufthansa, Air France, etc, are probably regretting now and I pray that they will respond and start landing in Kaduna.
“Kaduna is working and we have a dreamliner from Ethiopian Airline and for that, we thank the airline for believing in us, for partnering with Nigeria when the country is in need.
“We thank the President for also allowing us to do our job of keeping everyone safe within the aviation industry and for believing that we can do it and here we are doing it.”