Benin, Asaba airports closed for safety reasons —Minister

The Minister of Aviation, Mr. Osita Chidoka, on Thursday said the Federal Government downgraded and closed the Asaba and Benin airports due to safety concerns.

He spoke while riding a bicycle on his way to the Presidential Villa for the last Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja.

Asked to state what legacy he would leave behind as minister, Chidoka said, “The legacy I want to leave behind is a legacy of safe and sustainable transport. In my bid as Minister of Aviation, I have promoted the safety of airports and I had to take two decisions to downgrade the Asaba airport and close down the Benin airport because of safety issues.

“I believe that other agencies involved in transportation of any form should continue to exercise the regulatory options of making sure that we have safe and sustainable transportation systems.”

The Federal Government had earlier this month announced that it could not guarantee the safety and security of air travellers using the Asaba airport in Delta State, a development that necessitated its downgrading.

Chidoka said he had made vital recommendations that should be considered by his successor, stressing that these would keep the airports safe and secured if implemented by the new government.

He noted, “I have done a presentation on the industry and I am leaving it on my table. I am leaving the Paul Dike report on my table too. So, whoever is my successor, when he comes, my advice is that he should read these two reports before making up his mind on where to go.

“The Paul Dike report is a report that came after the plane crashes in Nigeria and the committee looked at all the airports in Nigeria holistically and suggested measures to improve the safety and security of the airports.

“It is interesting to note that most of the recommendations in that report have not been implemented and we have found out that some of the recommendations, even in Port Harcourt where Sosoliso crashed, were not implemented. We just implemented some of them recently.”

On the compensation for the victims of Dana Air crash as the nation gets ready to mark the third anniversary of the accident, the minister said the government would assist the relatives of victims who were yet to receive their claims from the airline to do so.

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By 9jatravel / Administrator, bbp_keymaster

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on May 28, 2015

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