By Citizens Platform
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) has said insecurity issues in the ancient city of Kano is the reason for the underutilisation of the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.
The angency also said this has affected socio economic activities in the state.
While condemning the recent report which alleged that the airport was dormant the angency said the airport is being affected by the impact of the insecurity which has stifled most economic activities in the state.
According to the General Manager, Corporate Communications of FAAN, Yakubu Dati, media attacks against the project, especially the report that the international terminal of the Mallam Aminu Kano Airport has not been put to use after its remodelling was merely to score cheap political goals as the criticism stemmed from ignorance and mischief of some anti- progressive elements.
Datti who made this explanation in Lagos said: ‘This report alleged that there was sabotage by FAAN and the Ministry of Aviation to make the terminal and perhaps the airport dormant, but this is not true. We wish to state that Kano has been and will continue to be one of the major airports in Nigeria and it is because of the importance attached to the airport that FAAN embarked on rebuilding the domestic terminal which was commissioned in early 2011.”
Dati explained that the viability and utilisation of airport is dependent on passenger movement, adding that it would be difficult for economic activities to go on under threat to lives and property.
“If the terminal or the airport is alleged to be dormant, it means that there is low passenger movement and it is not the responsibility of FAAN or the Ministry of Aviation to attract the passengers to the airport. The under-utilisation of the airport could be explained by the security situation in Kano and we believe that if the state government is working effectively with the federal government which has made efforts to eliminate insurgents in the north, air travellers will start coming to Kano and airlines which had already been designated will feel safe to operate from the airport,” he said.
He added that the report against the Kano airport cited other airports such as the ones in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Enugu as airports that are active and supposedly with completed remodelled airport terminal facilities. He said these other airports are thriving because of the peace in these parts of the country.
“We also wish to say that in terms of facilities, the Kano airport is ahead of others in this country. Also Port Harcourt terminal project is yet to be completed and that for now, the remodelled terminal at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja is designated for domestic operations but both international and domestic services are still emanating from the facility until the international terminal is built.
“The problem of Kano airport is the issue of security. If this newspaper (which carried the report) is actually the voice of the north, it should almost on daily basis write editorials on how to restore Kano to its glorious past. It is when this is done that the airport would begin to witness increased passenger movements that will boost the utilisation of the airport,” Datti said.
He noted that although the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos provides over 80 per cent of FAAN’s revenue, the Kano domestic and international airport terminals were completed before that of Lagos.
“In fact, work is still going on at the international terminal of the Lagos airport and it is hoped it will be commissioned later this year,” he said.
Datti also said contrary to the report that the conveyor belt at the Kano International airport takes two hours to deliver bags; the conveyor belt actually does that in five minutes.
“It is also mischievous for the newspaper to choose to interview anonymous persons who showed so much ignorance about the workings of the Kano airport, instead of talking to professionals who would give the reporters accurate information. Such accurate information that the conveyor belt installed at the Kano airport, will take five minutes and not two hours to move bags from the airside to passengers and that all equipment it mentioned, including X-ray machines have been installed and that the terminal is ready to facilitate passenger movement.
He declared: “The unseen hands influencing such subjective and decisive reports cannot claim ignorance of the fact that the airport remodelling projects began in the North with the commissioning of the Hajj Terminals in Kano and Kaduna airports by no less personalities than the Sultan of Sokoto and the speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively. Or are they claiming to be more “northerners” than these highly respected Northerners, including the Governor of Central Bank, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi who inaugurated airport and commended President Goodluck Jonathan especially for transforming the airport after many years of neglect?”
Source: Citizens Platform
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