By Tordue Salem, Abuja
The Acting Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu on Tuesday told the House of Representatives that foreign airlines that were Nigeria-bound but diverted their flights to other countries, will compensate their traumatised passengers.
The lead Aviation agency, made the pledge before the House Committee on Aviation, headed by Rep. Nnolim Nnaji(Enugu-PDP), yesterday.
Mr. Nuhu, who the Committee Chairman, asked to submit his promise to enforce compensation of passengers in writing, said “to answer your question directly, the airlines are responsible for passengers, so they will pay compensation to passengers”, he said.
Earlier, the Managing Director of Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, told the panel that contrary to allegations from certain quarters, the Abuja and Lagos airports were already upgraded from category 2 to 3 and commissioned.
He said, plans were underway to upgrade the Kano, Kaduna, Minna, Katsina and Ilorin airports to category 3 too, “in the near future”.
He, however, denied knowledge of the cost of the upgrade, directing the Committee to the Minister of Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika for briefing on the budget for the project.
Earlier, Rep. Nnadi, said his panel must ensure compensation for the traumatised Nigerian passengers who had suffered untold hardship, arising from the diversions of flights by the airlines and get to the roo of the quality of airline equipment and the entire management of the Nigerian airspace.
Recall that the House of Representatives had last week Tuesday, set up an inquiry into the incessant diversion of Nigeria-bound flights to neighbouring countries, as a result of decrepit landing equipment at the Country’s airports.
The agencies under the Nnaji-led panel’s scrutiny and possible sanctions, are the Nigeria Aviation Management Agency, NAMA, and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria(FAAN).
Rep. Wale Raji(Lagos-APC)) Motion was taken, to probe the matter, after the House voted to suspend Order 8 Rule 4 & 7 of the House Rules.
Mr. Raji, in his motion, called on the House to force the completion of the installation of landing equipment at airports, as he regretted that flights were being cancelled “due to poor landing equipment” at airports.
He lamented that even though over N7.8billion was voted to upgrade landing equipment at Lagos, Abuja, Maiduguri Airports in the country, flights were still diverted to Ghana, Togo & elsewhere, with consequent economic losses to the country. You
“We are all aware of the embarrassing situation currently going on the country. They suffer losses because of the situation. Govt needs to act immediately, to correct the anomaly. International businessmen are now being subjected to unnecessary delays”, he said.
According to the him, “though the installation is ongoing at Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos, basic components are yet to be installed”, leading to economic woes & stress for passengers both local & International.
He urged the House to mandate its Committee on Aviation to collaborate with relevant agencies and other stakeholders to make sure other supporting equipment for category 3 are installed at the Airports.
The motion was adopted, after several contributions, with its prayers.