With barely five days to the arrival of the United States Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) inspection team in the country, the supervising Minister of Aviation, Mr. Samuel Ortom, yesterday promised that government was ready to open its doors for the international aviation inspection team to come in.
Underscoring its readiness, he said all the necessary requirements towards making sure that Nigeria surpasses the Category One Safety status had been put in place.
The Category One status was awarded to Nigeria in 2010 after the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) audit certified its airspace worthiness.
Making the disclosure in an interview with THISDAY in Abuja, Ortom said between 2010 and now, â€œyou would agree with me that government has invested so much resources and energy in transforming our airports across the country.â€
According to him, the transformation that is currently ongoing in the sector was being acknowledged by all.
He said: â€œThe retention of the Category One status is very important to us at this particular point. Since assumption as the supervising Minister some weeks back, I have been preoccupied with all the agencies, in particular the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), in making sure that no stone is left unturned in our preparedness.
â€œTo the best of my knowledge, we are on top of the situation.â€ he said.
While allaying fears of stakeholders, the minister said: â€œMy expectation is besides being certified, we shall even move a step further because of what has been put in place since 2010 when we got it.â€
While reassuring stakeholders of Nigeriaâ€™s preparedness, he added: â€œWe have put all the necessary logistics together to make sure that we pass the test. Everything is in place, and areas where we need augmentation and adjustment are currently being put in place. All our engineering team are in place to make sure that we meet the international standards of the FAA and we are making sure that there is no gap.â€
Continuing, Ortom said: â€œI want to assure all stakeholders that there is no cause for alarm in the aviation section. I want to assure you that we must add value to what we have met.
â€œMy predecessor did well and I think we can build on that and no matter how short my administration is going to be, Iâ€™m going to make sure that that everybody is carried along.
â€œWhat Iâ€™m doing right is putting all the stakeholders together by making sure that we work as a team. Everybody must carry out their roles to make sure we meet with international standards by making sure that aviation becomes the best means of transportation in the country.â€
On the security challenge in the country, he assured: â€œIâ€™m aware that the ministry is not operating alone, the entire security agencies are working in consonance with us in securing the airport and also we have deployed sophisticated technology across the country to secure the airports.
â€œWe are on top of the situation as we speak. Any step that we take now we must make sure that the right thing is done.â€