Nigeria’s government has rejected the recent rating of Nigerian airports in 2015 by travel website, the Guide to Sleeping in Airports where three of Nigerian airports were rated among the worst in the world.
This was just as the former Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Auwal Tukur said the rating is a true reflection of what is obtainable at the nation’s airports.
Speaking during the League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC) in Lagos on the theme, “achieving a win–win aviation sector in Nigeria”, Hajia Binta Bello, Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Aviation, said it is up to the leaders to agree or to disagree on the rating.
In her words, “When I saw the rating, the question I asked is that, do we still have touts at the airports, are our airports dirty, are we corrupt, do we agree with all those questions, it is something that I cannot categorically say yes we are corrupt, our airports are not clean, our airports are congested, and so on.
“I am sure you can actually say if these airports are actually dirty, if this airports are full of touts, if these airports are chaotic, this morning I flew in from Abuja airport about five airlines were boarding at the same time I did not see any chaos there, it was a smooth operation, passengers were going to their various aircraft of the various airlines operators and the whole operations was very smooth so I cannot accept that the airports are dirty, I cannot accept that the airports are congested, if we have a temporary challenge, it is because of the constructions that is going on at our airports, In Abuja for instance, we have work going on there and when all these are done, all will be in proper shape.”
Against the Permanent Secretary’s opinion, Auwal Tukur, former Chairman House Committee on Aviation, during an interview at the event said he agree with rating of Nigerian airports among the worst in the world.
According to Tukur, “If you ask me a straight question, I will tell you that I agree, our airports are not nice place, coincidentally I travelled out of Abuja airport last Saturday and I was very uncomfortable and look at it, this report just came out on the same issue, as a country we need to react to it because it is out there in the public, most people say Nigeria is a horrible place but when you come in, you see that things are actually not what they paint the country to be. Let’s be truthful here, we have horrible airports and the report was not lying and we need to make them better, we need to make them functional so that they can compete internationally.”
Tukur said the way forward is for the government to be more proactive, less bureaucracy by privatising the airports and get it off from central control, regulate them and get private sector involved.
“Let us do things on time, don’t take a decision today and wait for 10 years before implementing it because by that time you are already it will be off the mark”, he said.