The House of Representatives has called on the Federal Government to fully reopen the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport.

At the plenary on Wednesday, the House particularly urged the Presidential Task Force on COVID–19 to “urgently direct” the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria to place coronavirus preventive protocols ahead of the formal reopening of the international wing of the airport.

The House also mandated the Committee on Aviation to interface with the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, to “without further delay agree on a timeline to reopen the international wing of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.”

The Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa; Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu, and 32 other lawmakers had moved a motion of urgent national importance titled ‘Reopening the International Wing of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, for International Flight Operations.’

The motion was unanimously adopted.

The sponsors recalled how the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), constituted the PTF headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, which spearheads the nation’s response to the pandemic.

The lawmaker also recalled that among the urgent, drastic responses to COVID–19 pandemic was the closure of three out of the five international airports in Nigeria, on March 19, 2020.

The lawmakers, however, decried that the international wing of the Kano airport has remained closed “despite credence to the impact and importance of the airport to Nigerians, foreigners and the economy. According to them, the facility serves 15 passenger airlines, both local and international.

The motion read in part, “The House is aware that the airport is the hub of Muslim pilgrimages in northern Nigeria, alongside serving other exigencies like emergency medical evacuations, and between 2010 and 2015 had a yearly average of 391,637 passengers flying the route for either business or pleasure.

“The House is cognisant of the losses of jobs on account of the continued closure of the airport as well as jeopardising investments in the Information and Communications Technology, facilities and meteorological equipment which the government may not be able to repair immediately, and so (they are) susceptible to malfunctioning, contrary to the expectations in an industry that runs on the precision of judgement on anchored working equipment and facilities.

“The House is worried that since Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport was closed alongside other airports on account of the coronavirus pandemic, and all other airports across the country, even those of minimum impact and relevance, have since reopened, it therefore calls to question why an airport of such historical profile, importance, economic status and significance is being kept out of operation.”

Source: PUNCH