Sen. Hadi Sirika, Minister of State , Aviation, on Saturday said plans were underway to establish Aviation University to promote research, development and production of higher level management manpower for the industry.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the minister made the disclosure in an interview with Journalists shortly after a familiarisation tour of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) in Zaria, Kaduna State.
He said: “The aviation university will be different from NCAT, the university will be fully into research and development and production of higher level management manpower need of the industry.
“The university will go into deep research, with the hope that in the near future, we will be able to manufacture aircraft components, until when we are able to produce the aircraft itself.
“Since the technology is available around the world, is no longer a hindrance, it is our own ability and capability to pursue it,” he noted.
While sighting example of countries like Brazil and India, who produce aircraft, the minister observed that “if such countries could do it, why not Nigeria.
“The technology is known, we are not reinventing it, we just put our act together in doing it. So, the university will cater for that, while NCAT will continue to provide the services in the institute,” he noted.
Commenting on the decentralisation of NCAT by the previous administration, Sirika said it was a diluted effort that would make the college less-efficient and less-capable to do what it was set out to do.
“Remember, it was the UNDP that partnered with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and Nigerian government to produced this institution.
“And it is one of its kind, so why are going to reduce its capacity and capability?. Our own task is to improve, enhance and upgrade the capacity and ability of the college to do more.
“But if somebody feels that he has funds to go and establish a facility somewhere to do some kind of training, of course, we will support him,” he assured.
The minister appreciated the efforts of the college staff for providing adequate training, but seek more support from government to pave way for its further improvement.
Earlier, the Rector of the College, Capt. Samuel Caulcrick, said the college was the bedrock of aviation industry because the industry was highly regulated and dynamic.
He enumerated some challenges of the college to include funding and obsolete facilities which worked against its rapid growth.
The rector said NCAT had many uncompleted projects that needed to be looked into to enable it achieved the desired goals.
Caulcrick commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his genuine efforts to make the college one of the best not only in Africa, but the world at large.