The Aviation Correspondent at THISDAY Newspapers Limited, Mr. Chinedu Eze, has emerged the ‘Best Aviation Print Reporter of the Year’, at the 2018 award ceremony organised by the Association of Foreign Airlines and Representatives in Nigeria (AFARN).
The award ceremony took place in Lagos, thursday.
The organisers explained that the award was in recognition of Eze’s contribution to the aviation industry through quality and professional coverage of the industry’s activities.
Also speaking at the event, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO Aviance), Mr. Idris Yakubu, called on the federal government to develop policies to save the country’s aviation industry from collapse.
Yakubu, spoke on the theme, ‘Promoting the Nigerian Gross Domestic Product through Safety Consciousness in the Aviation Industry.’
Represented at the event by NAHCO’s Head, Commercial, Mr. Kelechi Amechi, Yakubu described the Nigerian aviation industry as “an abysmal failure” and unacceptable, charging the government to invest heavily in the sector.
He argued that of the 3.5 per cent jobs created by the industry globally, Nigeria’s aviation industry can only create 0.2 per cent, stressing that the sector’s infrastructural condition was far below what obtained else where in the world.
He added: “I cannot understand why we cannot have a standard airport as we have it in other parts of the world.
“There is need for government to look at the aviation sector of our economy critically and come up with a deliberate plan to develop and grow the industry.
“There is need to invest in human resources in the industry; there is need to invest heavily in aviation in Nigeria. What we have currently as airports is not befitting.”
In his keynote address, the Minister of State for Aviation, Capt. Hadi Sirika, represented by the Commissioner, Accident Investigation Bureau, Mr. Akin Olatiru, commended the association for continuously leading the industry stakeholders and professionals in discussing safety issues which he said was key to the growth and advancement of the aviation industry.
“This singular act by this association is commendable and should be emulated,” Sirika said.
He added: “While it is a fact that air transport will continue to playback key role in promoting economic activities, the point remains that aviation practice in our clime is on the path of growth and government is making concerted efforts to ensure that issues likely to inhibit steady growth in the industry is nipped in the bud.”
Earlier in his welcome speech, FARN President, Mr. Kingsley Nwokoma, said the survival and growth of the aviation industry was the association’s major concern, saying it was what necessitated the bringing together of professionals and stakeholders in the industry to deliberate on issues necessary for the advancement of the sector.
He said: “This we will continue to do in the years ahead. We also renew our call today on safety which is the bedrock of this industry.”