By Henry Umoru
ABUJA – THE Senate, yesterday urged the Federal Ministry of Aviation and the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, to ensure that all aircrafts operating within the country are air worthy in order to keep Nigerian air travellers safe at all times.
The Senate has also hailed the Federal Ministry of Aviation and the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority for moving swiftly in mitigating the operations of the Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 series aircraft within the Nigerian Airspace in order to ensure the safety of all Nigerians following the death of two Nigerians in recent crashed Boeing 737 Max 8.
The Upper Chamber also observed one minute silence in honour of the two Distinguished Nigerians who passed away in the ill-fated Ethiopian airlines flight ET- 302 on Sunday 10th March, 2019.
Resolutions of the Senate yesterday were sequel to a motion by Senator Olugbenga Ashafa, APC, Lagos East and entitled, “The sad demise of two illustrious Nigerians in the recent Ethiopian airlines crash of 10th march, 2019 and the need for Nigeria to protect its airspace from the Boeing 737 max 8 series pending the determination of its air worthiness.”
It would be recalled that a former United Nations and African Union Deputy Joint Special Representative in Darfur, Sudan, Ambassador Abiodun Bashua and a Professor of Literary Arts in Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, Pius Adesanmi, were among the 157 victims of the Ethiopian passengers airline which caught fire few minutes after taken off and killed all its occupants on Sunday, March 10 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Presenting the motion, Ashafa noted that the two Nigerians who lost their lives in the ill-fated flight ET-302, “are individuals who have distinguished themselves in their fields and till their deaths remained worthy ambassadors of the country in the Diaspora”.
Ashafa recalled that sometimes in October 2018, a brand new Lion Air Boeing 737 Max 8 went down over the Java Sea killing 189 people, adding that the Ethiopian Airlines flight that killed 157 people including two illustrious Nigerians was equally a Boeing 737 Max 8 series.
According to him, the pilots have reportedly complained about the anti-stall system installed on the aircraft models Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 series, commending the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika for assuring that no Nigerian airlines currently operating the aircraft series.
The Senator quoted the minister to have said that Nigeria has joined other countries, including Ethiopia, United States, United Kingdom and China in banning the operations of Boeing 737 Max 8 series within the Nigerian airspace.
He also noted that the NCAA had already issued an advisory statement “that nobody should fly out of Nigeria or into Nigeria using the 737 Max 8 and 9 pending the determination of the actual cause of the crash in Ethiopia and also pending the outcome of the response of the manufacturer themselves which is Messrs Boeing”.
Contributing, Senators Biodun Olujimi (PDP, Ekiti South) and Mao Ohuabunwa (PDP, Abia North), commended the federal government for banning the operations of the aircraft series within the country’s airspace.
Ohuabunwa who called on the federal government to revive its own airline as it used to be in the days of Nigeria Airways, said, “As we mourn these illustrious, eminent and Distinguished sons of Nigeria, I want to commend the Ministry of State Transport for barring the 737 Max 8 Aircraft. We should use the opportunity to develop our own national airline.”
Olujimi who stressed the need for proper regulation of all airlines operating in the country and overhauling of their aircrafts with a view to saving the lives of air travellers, said, “These are not the best of times. We need to own our own national airline so that we can have our own regulations to monitor our own aviation laws.”