Senate wants urgent measures to rescue aviation sector

Godswill Akpabio

Godswill Akpabio

The Senate yesterday cautioned that the specter of plane crashes might return if urgent steps were not taken by relevant government agencies to address the ailing aviation industry.

Adopting a motion sponsored by Senator Dino Melaye on “The disturbing development in the Nigerian aviation industry,” the Senate urged the Federal Government to insist that airlines use the naira as the official currency in all their transactions.

The Senate after a brief debate on the motion expressed willingness to support the Federal Government’s move to intervene in the current challenges in the sector.

Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who raised the alarm of imminent crashes, said airlines operating in the country can no longer access foreign exchange to service their aircraft.

Akpabio added that many of the airlines in the country are now bankrupt while others have relocated to neighbouring countries. “These problems are caused by the policies of government. These policies have not favoured the airlines in their operations. Section 14(2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended says that government must ensure the security and welfare of the people. We are likely to have a spectre of crashes because most airlines cannot access foreign exchange to service their aircraft,” Akpabio noted.

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu said the withdrawal of airlines from Nigeria is a bad omen, which will lead to massive job losses. Ekweremadu said: “A situation where airlines cannot send back their money to their home countries is bad. Competition becomes less and the few left will charge as they want. It is embarrassing that airlines have to go and refuel in Ghana.”

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Godswill Akpabio

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