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Ex-aviation minister, Chidoka speaks on closure of Enugu Airport

Former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka has said the closure of Enugu International Airport and subsequent demolition of Emene market in Enugu were steps in the right direction towards tackling the recurrent safety and security challenges rocking the airport.

Recall that the current Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had earlier threatened a shutdown of the Airport.

This was followed by a directive by the Enugu state government for the demolition of the part of Emene market near the airport.

Reacting in a series of tweets on Sunday, Chidoka said the Enugu Airport needs urgent holistic attention to improve its safety and commercial viability, suggesting concession of the airport to private operators through the state government.

He wrote, “I was on board the @flyairpeace that suffered the bird strike and had to make an emergency landing last Monday.

“The pilots were professional and they told me that was the 3rd bird strike suffered by the Airline at Enugu. I called Minister @hadisirika unsuccessfully to discuss.

“Safety is an important issue & should be handled professionally. The Minister’s statement and the response of Enugu State government are in the right direction.

“Enugu Airport needs urgent holistic attention to improve safety and commercial viability.

“Fundamentally government should consider handing over the Airport building and infrastructure to Host State Governments while the Federal Government continue to regulate and operate safety, navigational aids and other international standards issues.

“State governments can decide to concession or partner with private sector to operate Airports. Nigeria is at a crossroads there is need to administratively devolve powers to States to improve Federal Government’s balance sheet and increase social trust. The Federal Government is currently overstretched.

“From heightening insecurity to nationwide deployment of military to increasing debt profile to reducing revenues and increased National distrust the federal government should not be discussing bird strike. Enugu state should take responsibility for Airport under Federal Government regulation.

“Federal government should stop playing ostrich. Nigeria needs structural adjustment now and this is not the same as the inchoate ‘restructuring’.’

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