By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—THE Senate yesterday lampooned the aviation sector in the country, describing it as the most hostile in the world.
The assessment of the Senate yesterday came through its Deputy Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah, APC Kebbi South, when he had in audience leaders of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, NAAPE, in his office.
Senate’s swipe at the sector came as many of the trained pilots in Nigeria yesterday cried out to the Upper Legislative Chamber to bail them out of what they described as joblessness through required legislation that would turn the sector around for better.
Earlier, the NAAPE leaders, led by the president, Jacob Ogwu, had urged Senator Na’Allah in his capacity as Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation and a critical stakeholder in the sector, to help in making the Senate and by extension, the National Assembly, to beam the search lights on problems bedeviling the sector for required solutions.
Na’Allah in his response, told the visiting pilots and engineers that the executive, and not the Senate, should be pressurised to urgently do what was right for the sector to grow and be in proper shape.
He said: “Nigeria’s aviation sector, being the most hostile one to investors and other key players, the current 8th Senate within three months of its inception in 2015, debated on a motion sponsored by me on problems bedeviling the sector and came up with far reaching 24-point resolutions for the needed way out.
‘’But none of the resolutions had been considered by the executive for more than two years now.
“So, to us in the Senate and by extension, the National Assembly, we have done the needful by proffering solutions. It is left for the executive to implement the resolutions.
“As we stand today, we have the most hostile aviation operation environment and you cannot develop aviation under this hostile environment. It is not possible because business people want to make profit and you know in aviation.
“Unless we look at these issues seriously, we can never guarantee the growth of general aviation which will serve as a support to the airline and, thereby, a robust economic stimulant for movement of goods and services in Nigeria.”
Na’ Allah, who sympathised with the pilots, stared in the face by joblessness as a result of limited flying experience, said: “ The industry is built more on safety consideration and not brilliance exhibited by any pilot while in training.
He said: “No brilliance in flying, but rather cumulative hours of flying achieved by a pilot. The more hours of flying a pilot has to his credit, the easier he gets engaged by airline owners.
‘’So my advice for all of you is to be adding to your hours of flying on daily basis through hiring of aircraft for that purpose, which is, however, expensive.”