House of Representatives holds emergence session Monday, begs airlines not to shut operations

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From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja

The House of Representatives has said it would hold an emergency session tomorrow to discuss some “critical” national issues.

The House, in a statement by the clerk, Yahaya Danzaria, on Saturday, recalled all members who are currently on a break to enable them to participate in their political parties’ primaries.

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This comes as the chairman of the House Committee on Aviation, Nnolim Nnaji, appealed to the airline operators in the country to shelve their plans to shut down their operations as a result of the escalating cost of aviation fuel.

Nnaji said in a statement that it was regrettable that despite the last intervention of the leadership of the House over the cost of aviation fuel, the problem remained unabated. Nevertheless, he assured the airline operators that the parliament is concerned about their plight, noting that the speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, had concluded plans to meet with stakeholders in the aviation sector.

According to him, ‘the National Assembly is determined to ensure that the aviation fuel crisis is urgently resolved because air transportation has become the safest mode of travel.

‘It is equally the catalyst of economic development so we cannot afford to entertain any disruptions in the sector especially now that the election process is ongoing.’

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Similarly, the House minority caucus has charged President Muhammadu Buhari to take immediate steps to avert a shutdown of flight operations. The opposition lawmakers said a shutdown of flight operations will have grave consequences on our national life.

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The caucus, in a statement on Saturday by the minority leader, Ndudi Elumelu, said it is worrisome that airline operators are threatening to shut down their operations with effect from Monday over the high cost of aviation fuel.

‘As representatives of the people, the Minority Caucus is concerned because aviation is pivotal to the operation, sustenance and survival of other key sectors of the economy and any shutdown of flight operations will have devastating spiral effects and worsen the excruciating economic hardship and further escalate insecurity in the country.

‘This is because apart from the direct disabling of thousands of aviation-related jobs and ancillary businesses, a shutdown of the sector will also have a grave negative impact on critical government and public sector activities which are sustained by air travelling.

‘It is instructive to note that the aviation sector is no longer an exclusive reserve of the elite, but plays a central role in the movement of personnel and equipment that drive and sustain services and operations which benefit the masses in healthcare, manufacturing, education, food production, telecommunication, retailing, banking and finance, hospitality, entertainment, power, security and other key sectors,’ the caucus stated.

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