The General Manager, Corporate Communications of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Mr. Yakubu Dati has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of politicizing safety issues.
Dati was reacting to APC’s call for an investigation of last Thursday’s temporary closure of the Gombe Airport by aviation authorities.
Information Nigeria reports that an aircraft carrying APC chieftains from Abuja was denied landing at the airport and was diverted to the Bauchi airport but the opposition party described the incident as a clear act of sabotage and a dent on Nigeria’s air safety standards.
While Dati was widely reported as saying the airport was closed for a routine operation to check fire tenders, APC rejected the explanation saying, “Either way, he (Dati) has shown by his unprofessional comments that he is qualified to do everything but speak for the aviation agencies”.
But the coordinating spokesman for aviation parastatals maintained that aviation regulatory agencies would not be intimidated by politicians.
He said, “They are only confirming what we are saying that people want to politicise safety issues. And the fact remains that we will not be intimidated, no matter the level of politicisation of issues of this sort.
“Well, politicians are free to play their politics but we have a mandate to operate based on what is obtainable and again I say this – we cannot be intimidated”.
Dati noted that government had released an official statement on the issue adding that “we stand by our statement”.