ICAO Council president Aliu and Nigerian president Buhari find common ground on aviation development priorities
The President of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, met and held high-level discussions this week with the President and Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, H. E. Muhammadu Buhari.
The two officials covered topics including projected aviation growth and associated human resource capacity and infrastructure challenges, ongoing threats from terrorist organizations in the region, as well as Nigeria's potential to position itself as a leader in the provision of air services and aviation facilities including training for aviation professionals. President Aliu also welcomed Nigeria's confirmation of its pending financial contribution to the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) for Africa.
President Buhari was accompanied during the discussions by Nigeria's Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, its Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, and other high officials. President Aliu was joined by the Representative of Nigeria on the ICAO Council, Mr. Nwafor Emeka Martins, and ICAO's Regional Director for Western and Central Africa, Mr. Mam Sait Jallow.
“Civil aviation in Africa is an essential enabler of growth and social development, and ICAO has been very encouraged by Nigeria's recent leadership and commitments with respect to aviation safety, capacity, security and human resources development,” President Aliu highlighted. “Consistent with the principles and priorities of ICAO's No Country left Behind initiative, ICAO will collaborate with Nigeria towards the enhancement of aviation training capacity here and the upgrading of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) to full status as an ICAO Regional Training Centre of Excellence (RTCE). The establishment of an Aerospace University in Nigeria has also been proposed.”
Additional topics covered by the senior officials included the need to strengthen the autonomy of Nigeria's Civil Aviation Authority and to ensure that revenues accruing from aviation activities are returned to the sector in the form of investments for training and other priorities.
It was agreed that a concrete roadmap and masterplan for aviation development will be put in place as a follow up to the discussions held.
During his mission, President Aliu also met with heads of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, the Nigerian Accident Investigation Bureau and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, as well as the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology. He visited the new Abuja International Airport terminal project, meteorological installations and weather forecasting facilities, and the Accident Investigation Agency's laboratories.
In addition, meetings were held with the Vice President of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mr.Edward Singhatey, the Executive Director and Staff of the Banjul Accord Regional Aviation Safety Oversight Organization (BAGASOO), and the Regional Director of IATA for Africa and the Middle East, Ms. Adefunke Adeyemi. Discussions with these stakeholders focused on the need for greater collaboration and mutual cooperation between ICAO and the respective organizations for the advancement of aviation safety, security, capacity building, infrastructure development and air transport liberalization.
In the course of the visit an MOU for cooperation was signed between ECOWAS and BAGASOO in a bid to support the Regional Safety Oversight Organization.