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Thursday 23 March 2017

Kaduna Airport, Disaster Waiting To Happen – Reps

Kaduna Airport, Disaster Waiting To Happen – Reps

Members of the House of Representatives made a dramatic U-turn on Thursday, condemning aviation operations at the Kaduna International Airport.

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They said the airport fell short of the safety standards for both domestic and international flight operations.

The Kaduna Airport is serving as a temporary alternative to the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, whose runway is undergoing a major reconstruction.

The closure of the Abuja airport is into its third week and the repairs will last for another three weeks, according to the original work plan of the Federal Government.

Just four weeks ago, the same lawmakers had passed a resolution supporting the closure of the airport and giving the nod to Kaduna to serve as the alternative.

But, on Thursday, after flying the airport into Kaduna, lawmakers changed their tunes and began condemning the airport.

“God forbid that an aircraft should drop from the skies due to our own errors. This is what we should not pray to happen.

“It can happen to anybody.

“Safety standards are not being adhered to at the airport,” the Chairman, House Committee on Media Loan, Aids and Debt Management, Mr. Adeyinka Ajayi, told his colleagues.

Ajayi, a member of the All Progressives Congress, had moved a motion on the need for aviation authorities to keep to their promises of maintaining safety standards in Kaduna prior to the closure of the Abuja airport.

He cited a personal experience of witnessing aviation fuel being discharged from haulage trucks into aircraft at the airport without purifying the fuel.

Ajayi also said ramp marking rules were abused at the airport as they were “violated by unauthorised users, who go right through the ramp marks.”

He added, “Aircraft manoeuvring and parking space is allegedly inadequate to accommodate the high number of aircraft now operating in and out of the airport.

“Further disturbed that some aviation marketers have been allegedly transferring Jet A-1 fuel from bulk road tankers directly into bowers right on the tarmac and discharging same into aircraft…

“(All of this) poses a lot of danger to passengers and aircraft safety.”

The Chairman, Committee on Foreign Relations, Ms. Nnenna Ukeje, also observed that the lives of passengers and aircraft were exposed to danger at the Kaduna airport.

She noted that the space provided for passengers and parking for aircraft was inadequate and could easily lead to accidents.

Ukeje, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, recalled how she spent close to two hours after landing at the airport, struggling to access luggage and eventually exiting the environment.

“The Kaduna airport experiment has obviously failed,” she stated.

Another APC member, Mr. Hassan Saleh, also told the House that he had been to the airport and that all he could see was “total disappointment. It is a disaster waiting to happen.”

Saleh noted, “Security measures at that airport have collapsed. You could see that the security personnel are even overwhelmed by the crowds.

“They no longer conduct full security checks because of the huge crowds.”

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