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Flight Diversions: Reps probe aviation agencies, mull enactment of passenger-protection law

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Reps, Air Force, NDDC
The House of Representatives has 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. 
Besides, the House wants to enact legislation that would protect passengers who are victims of the agencies’ negligence of their responsibilities.

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Agencies under the Green Chamber’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 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 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 is installed at the Airports.
In his contribution to the motion, Deputy  Minority Leader, Rep. Tobychukwu (PDP-Enugu) regretted that  ” air passengers are daily exposed to unwarranted hazards because someone is not able to do his job. The instruments are there, and we are talking of calibration”.
He recommended that “the people who are responsible for this, should simply go”.
He observed that passengers and pilots were been exposed “to the guesswork of regulators of Airports”.
He stressed that the House should “Find out those responsible for the diversions and issue appropriate sanctions”.
Olajide Olatunbosun(Oyo), on his part, recalled  “Last week aircraft coming to Nigeria, were diverted. We were told there would be an upgrade from category 2 to 3, but the planning was poor, some components were missing”.
He alleged that “NAMA and other agencies are being compromised. We have lost about 5 million euros, because of the diversions. Wants the House to do a thorough investigation of this issue”.
Rep. Ifeanyi Chukwudi Momah(Anambra)
said “the funny thing about this is that, there have been some brickbats thrown around by agencies in the Aviation Ministry. Agencies seem to be disregarding solutions to the problem”.
Rep. James Faleke (APC-Lagos) described the situation as “weighty and embarrassing”.
He, however, blamed the situation, on the negligence of the staff of aviation agencies”. Regretted that it was a global embarrassment and suggested compensation for all passengers who have suffered losses, as he recommended sanctions against Aviation agency heads.
Igariwey Iguma(PDP-Ebonyi), noted that aeroplanes are “designed to fly 24hours, but Nigerian planes can’t fly in the night. This is because of the inefficiency of regulation”.
He added that “the equipment must be installed so that aeroplanes can fly 24hours, as it obtains in other climes”.
The House, in concluding on the Motion, mandated the Aviation Committee to liaise with other stakeholders for a redress of the situation and directed all regulatory agencies in the Aviation sector to compensate passengers who are affected.
The Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila who presided over Tuesday’s plenary, also announced that the House would draw a Passenger Bill of Rights as a law to protect passengers in Nigeria.

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