The Senate has warned of possible plane crashes in the country, if the Federal Government does not take urgent steps to fix the ailing aviation industry.
The warning, followed a motion moved by Senator Dino Melaye, tagged “Disturbing Development in the Nigerian Aviation Industry”.
Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio who raised the alarm of imminent crashes, while making his contributions, said airlines operating in the country can no longer access foreign exchange used in servicing their aircrafts.
He warned that some operators may start cutting corners as a result of their inability to access foreign exchange, thereby endangering the lives of air travelers.
He added that many of the airlines in the country are bankrupt and dead. He further noted that others have either withdrawn or relocated to neighbouring countries.
“These problems are caused by policies of government. Monetary policies of government have not allowed the airlines to operate.
“Section 14(2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended says that government must ensure the security and welfare of the people. We are likely to have a spectre of crashes because most airlines cannot access foreign exchange to service their aircrafts,” Akpabio noted.
Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu in his submission, said the withdrawal of airlines from Nigeria’s aviation industry is a bad omen which will in turn lead to massive job losses.
Ekweremadu said: “A situation whereby airlines cannot send back their money to their home countries is a disaster. Competition becomes less and the few left will charge as they want. It is embarrassing that airlines have to go and refuel in Ghana.”
The Senate after a brief debate, expressed willingness to support Federal Government’s move to intervene in the current challenges with a view to saving the traveling masses from greater hardship and reduce the ongoing suffering in the aviation sector.
The Red Chamber also urged the government to ensure that it extracts from airlines who are going to be benefiting from the government special reviews, commitments not to increase fares arbitrarily and guarantee competitive ticket pricing within the regional market indicators.
The Senate urged the Federal Government to prevail and insist that airlines use the Naira as the official currency in all transactions in the aviation industry.
By Ehisuan Odia….
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