Reps Want Bauchi Airport Fencing Completed Soon

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ABUJA, March 11, (THEWILL) - Following last Monday's plane mishap involving the Action Congress of Nigeria's (ACN) Presidential running mate, the House of Representatives Thursday directed the Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Fidelia Njeze to expedite action on the perimeter fencing of the Bauchi airstrip in Bauchi state.

The directive was given following a motion brought by Hon. Sani Abdu (CPC, Bauchi) who condemned the incident expressing displeasure that monies had been appropriated by the Federal Government in the 2009 as well as 2010 budgets towards the perimeter fencing of all federal airports in the country.

Abdu said the incident showed that they were no adequate safety measures around the airstrip explaining that the failure of the aviation of ministry to implement the project as contained in the 2009 and 2010 budgets was responsible for the accident. He also called for a thorough investigation of the incident.

“Most embarrassing is the remarks from the Bauchi State Governor’s aides to the effect that the State was not aware of the coming of the ACN candidate.

“And the Federal Executive Council [FEC] has said there is no act of sabotage in the incidence. There is a counter claim by the ACN of sabotage, this need to be investigated. The Police must be asked some questions. The National Security Adviser [NSA] must also answer some questions”, he argued.

While supporting the motion, the Minority leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila (ACN Lagos) also called for an independent investigation of the incident, just as he took a swipe at the comments allegedly emanating from the Federal Executive Council [FEC], which, according to him has no locus. He said FEC is a body not known to law.

“FEC has reacted even though it is not known to law. We cannot ask the Ministry of Aviation to probe. This is because it is an interested party. Let us go for an independent body to probe this”, he said.

Gbajabiamila who berated the Ministry of Aviation for the failure to effect the perimeter fencing of the various federal airports in the country despite the release of resources to that effect said “yearly we budget monies for perimeter fencing and nothing is done. This is not an act of God as claimed by FEC, it is an act of negligence”, he said.

Introducing a different dimension to motion, Hon. Auwalu Gwalabe lamented that each time the state government moves to provide fencing at the airstrip, the villagers frustrate the efforts by cutting the fence. He said that past efforts by the Bauchi state government to relocate the villager was equally resisted.

Others who spoke on the motion were Hon. Bala Ibn Na’Allah (PDP, Kebbi) Hon. Ubale Kiru (ANPP, Kano) and Hon. Independence Ogunewe (PDP, Imo) who expressed the need to urgently address the issue of proximity of village settlements to airstrips and airports in the country in order to avert future tragedy.

In his contribution, Hon. Ike Chinwo (PDP, Rivers) cautioned his colleagues not to politicise the incidence since the development was being investigated by the Accident Investigations Bureau.

Ruling on the motion, the House presided by the Speaker, Dimeji Bankole resolved to urge the Ministry of Aviation to expedite action on the fencing of the airstrip to avoid future occurrence.

Recall that a chartered aircraft carrying the ACN Vice Presidential candidate and other members of the party had hit a flock of sheep on the run way as it attempted to land at the Bauchi Airstrip last Monday.