The Chairmen, Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Aviation, Sen. Smart Adeyemi and Rep. Nnolim Nnaji, on Thursday, inspected the Ibadan airport in Oyo State.
Speaking with newsmen at the end of the inspection, Adeyemi said the aviation industry was key to the socio-economic development of the country
The senate aviation committee chairman noted that there was a need for improvement at the airport, based on what the joint committees saw.
He added that there was a need for more budgetary provision to meet some challenges seen, observing that the Ibadan airport was porous.
Adeyemi said the porosity posed danger to the safety of flights coming to the airport.
He noted that there was not enough facility to monitor the entire airport “which is a big risk especially when you have aircraft coming at night and there is no proper security in place to guaranty safety of the aircraft and passengers.”
“We equally observed that there is a need for extension of the runway to meet up with international standards; again, the runway needs attention.
“So, our coming here today, is an eye-opener to some of the situations that require urgent attention.
“As legislatures, our duty is to call the attention of the executive to areas where they need to provide funding on one hand and to make sure that we allow the executive to see those areas.
“And when they come for budget defence, we will be speaking to them on point of knowledge of what we have seen, we will not be guessing but will tell them what we have seen here which requires attention by way of fund being made available.
“And where this fund is not made available; as legislature, before the budget is passed, we make sure that we provide funding for specific areas that we have seen that demand attention,” he said.
Adeyemi commended the Oyo State Government for its concern and efforts in providing some of the facilities such as fire service equipment needed at the airport.
He stressed that no one could over-emphasise the importance of having a very effective fire service in place in an airport.
He, however, urged other state governments to emulate Oyo state by working in conjunction with the Federal Government’s efforts.
Adeyemi maintained that the on-the-spot assessment of the aviation committee was not limited to Ibadan airport, saying the committee had visited some airports “and we are still visiting other airports.
“Before we receive the 2022 budget in September, we will be able to take on the minister, before then, we will send to them our observations so that when they are coming, they will have ideas of what we have seen and areas we want then to provide the funding for.
“In case they come and areas they have forgotten, it is our duty as legislatures to do the needful by providing funds for specific areas that will help to put the airport in the position it should occupy,” he added.
The senator noted that Ibadan remained a big city, adding that the airport must be upgraded to meet the standards required “that will be befitting not just for people of the Southwest but for Nigeria as a whole.”
Earlier, the NASS Joint Committee led by Adeyemi paid a courtesy visit on Gov. Seyi Makinde in his office at the state secretariat, Agodi, where the committee sought more collaboration with the state government on infrastructural development.
Makinde noted that the Ibadan airport, “ideally, should be the alternate airport to Lagos” saying that if the airport is fixed properly, it will take away some of the challenges at the Lagos airport.
“As a government in Oyo state, we have been trying our best to do our own bit and as a matter of fact, we have already started the process of upgrading the airport.
“We have commissioned a study to look at the airport; to look at those things we should upgrade, we are looking at the instrument landing system and the airport lighting system.
“We are thinking of how to take over the airport; to do a Public-Private Partnership, where the state will join up with experts in the field and people to invest in it,” Makinde said.
The governor said that it had awarded a contract to put in a storage and aviation fuel dispensing facility at the airport.
He promised that his administration would give all the support needed in upgrading the airport.
“Even if it is the expansion of the runway you want to do for us, we want you to help us put it in the budget,” the governor said.
Other committee members on the entourage were Sen. Kola Balogun- representing Oyo South Senatorial District and Rep. Stanley Olajide, representing Ibadan Southwest/Northwest Federal Constituency. (NAN)