President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday ordered the Ministry of Aviation to immediately start the process of securing the management of the Nigerian airspace over the Gulf of Guinea from Ghana.
He also directed the ministry to look into the possibility of getting a national carrier for the country as soon as possible.
The ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Binta Bello, told State House correspondents, that Buhari handed down the directives when she and her team briefed him of their activities at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Bello said Ghana had been maintaining the airspace over the Gulf of Guinea since 1945.
She said the President’s directive for the takeover by Nigeria came at a time when some other neighbouring countries were making moves to take over their own airspace too.
“We have a directive by the President to start the process of securing the management of the Nigerian airspace over the Gulf of Guinea which Ghana has been maintaining since 1945 and there is a move on the ground by Togo and Republic of Benin to take over their own airspace from Ghana,” Bello said.
She added that the President also raised concerns over the country’s inability to have a national carrier.
To that end, Bello, said Buhari directed her ministry to look at the possibility of having a national carrier as soon as possible.
“The President is quite concerned about lack of national carrier for now and he has directed the ministry to look into the possibility of having a national carrier as soon as possible,” she added.
The Permanent Secretary added that she briefed the President of the four international terminal buildings that are being constructed across the country.
She said the buildings would be ready for commissioning at the end of the first quarter of 2016.
She said, “We briefed the President of the four international terminal buildings that are being constructed using the China NEXIM Bank loan.
“They are very big projects that are being funded 100 per cent by China NEXIM Bank and DMO. Work is progressing very well.
“The terminals will be ready for commissioning at the end of the first quarter of 2016. At the completion of the projects, Nigerians will appreciate the works that have been put into them.
“The capacity of the terminals would have been expanded to contain big aircraft, such as the A380 Air Bus and there will be a lot of commercial activities that are obtainable in other international airports.”
Bello said she also briefed Buhari on the challenges domestic airlines were facing, despite the Federal Government’s N300bn intervention fund.
She regretted that despite the intervention, many of the airlines are still heavily indebted to regulatory agencies.
She reassured Nigerians and the international community, that Nigeria’s airspace is safe and has just recorded a score of over 90 per cent by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.