The Managing Director, Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Captain Fola Akinkuotu has called on the Senate to give more funding support to the organisation to protect its newly procured and installed safety-critical facilities around the country.
Capt. Fola Akinkuotu made the call when he hosted the Senate Committee on Aviation led by the Chairman, Senator Smart Adeyemi, on an oversight visit to NAMA. He disclosed that there have been instances where the facilities were vandalized in Port Harcourt, Enugu and Owerri thereby impacting on safety..
On the security of these assets provided which include new Doppler Voice Very High Frequency Omni-Directional Range (DVOR) among others Akinkuotu said: “If there was time I would have taken you to Iju where that facility is. Why I say it would have been important to take you to where these facilities are that there is a need to protect these assets. All over the country where the assets were put in place, we didn’t foresee what are seeing today. So there is a need to make provision for security. There is a need to make provision for fencing, lighting and security. In two places or three, Port Harcourt, Enugu and Owerri, there has been vandalization of cables which impact on safety.”
Akinkuotu said the equipment which allows aircraft to land under zero weather visibility would be done this year, totaling airports with CAT3 ILS at five airports including the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
According to him, NAMA had in recent times made frantic efforts to improve on landing and navigational facilities for safe flight operation.
“We have installed Cat3 ILS system. The ILS based on their category will give you different minima. The minima for category three is much lower than categories one and two. So we installed these two in Abuja and Lagos. As we speak, approval has been given also and an agreement signed, for three new category three ILS’s in Kano, Port Harcourt and Katsina.”
“Usually ILS are of short-range maximum about 25 nautical miles and therefore they are not designed for navigation, they are designed for terminating a flight and so there is need for other types of navigation aids. We have VORs and they come in categories, I think the last we had before now is category c but I think we are now in the process of getting DVOR which is the Doppler
He said the agency had also installed Doppler Voice Very High Frequency Omni-Directional Range (DVOR) in Kano, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Maiduguri, Jos, Ibadan and Yola to aid navigation.
Responding, Senator Smart Adeyemi, the Chairman of Senate Committee on Aviation has charged the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to take issues of staff welfare seriously as it continues to provide safe navigation and communication facilities in the airspace.
Senator Adeyemi who was with his colleagues Senators Abba Moro, Sadiq Umar and Biodun C. Olujimi said ”I am aware of some of the things you have said. I know that the safety we enjoy in the aviation industry is not unconnected with the contributions of all of you in this agency. I salute you for this. You have done excellently well.
‘Aviation in Nigeria today is something we should be proud of. We may not have attained the level that people want to see but seriously speaking there are areas that when you look at it in aviation, we can say we have not done badly. We have had a very good track record of safety. I think we are not doing badly but we can do better.
“You have said a lot of things that bother on safety, you talked about communication, navigation and surveillance that talks about safety and, that is the major issue in the aviation industry. Once people are sure of their safety, they would fly.”