Stakeholders react as Nigeria set to begin aircraft assembling


By Chukwuemeke Iwelunmo

Industry stakeholders have started to react to the recent announcement that Nigeria’s first set of locally assembled aircraft at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Zaria will commence flying in the next four months.

After the last Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja, newsmen were told that light aircraft will be assembled in the country especially for the flying students of NCAT to train with.

Reacting to this development, an aviation expert, Mr Olumide Ohunayo said assembling aircraft in the country will be an easy task if those to assemble it will be brought into the country.

Ohunayo said the government will be able to meet the four months deadline as they were not starting from the scratch.

He said it will be used for border patrol and by the military and go for agriculture but added that it will be a wasteful venture for it to be only used for the training of NCAT students with the huge amount of N2.9billion

Ohunayo commended the minister of aviation for the recent announcement to install category III Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) in 15 airports across the country.

Ohunayo said it will further aid take-off and landing of aircraft but noted that it was not the priority in the sector for now, warning that it should not be abandoned half way as the tenure of the present administration was winding down.

He, however, urged the government to ensure the calibration of the ILS as soon as it was installed in order not to leave it as abandoned project

Also speaking on this development, a frontline labour leader and the secretary of Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP), Comrade Abdulrasaq Saidu, enquired about what the authorities have put in place to ensure the assembling of such aircraft.

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Saidu, who was not sure of what is on ground to show that aircraft will be flying in the next four months, said: “l don’t believe that, what is the magic, what is on ground to show. Aircraft components involve so many things and I have not seen anything on ground to give me the confident to believe that it is feasible.

“If one has vision, such vision must be followed by mission. A vision that does not have a follow up of mission is bound to fail.”

He, therefore, noted that Nigeria’s woes in technology began the moment the Osogbo machine tools that was producing engine blocks, spanners and others was mismanaged.

Saidu further queried the number of professionals that have been trained to take over from those coming to assemble the aircraft.

He explained that after the importation of the aircraft components, the government will also import those to assemble the plane while few Nigerians will under study them.

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