The Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, yesterday began an inspection of facilities at the Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Lagos, as part of his familiarization tour of airport facilities across the country.
Among the facilities he visited are; the General Aviation Terminal 1 (GAT1), the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria facility, the Navigational Aids Flight Inspection & Surveillance, the Power House, the E and D fingers, among others.
In an interactive session with staff of the various departments and agencies he visited, Chidoka harped on air safety, adding that all staff must be properly trained and the right equipment provided to enable them function optimally.
He frowned at the lack of adequate training for airport firemen, after he was told that they had not undergone any major training in the past two years.
He also described as bad practice, the situation where the aviation firemen are only trained to respond to aircraft emergencies leaving out other emergency situations.
The minister stressed that training of firemen is critical to aviation safety and assured that they would undergo training conducted by bodies other than the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) as is the case currently.
“The current practice where you train yourself doesn’t sit well with me. We would have to appoint a third party to train you and certify you fit. That should be the practice and your promotion will be based on your training”, he said.
The minister also directed that vehicles be allowed to drive through the departure halls so that travelers could alight close to the terminals rather than having them stop about one kilometre away and trek with their baggage the whole distance.
He also visited the abandoned underground car park.
The newly appointed minister continues his interaction with aviation heads and other industry stakeholders tomorrow.