COUNTRY STATEMENT BY SENATOR HADI SIRIKA, THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF AVIATION, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA DURING THE 41st ASSEMBLY OF THE INTERNATIONAL CIVIL AVIATION ORGANISATION (ICAO) MONTREAL, CANADA.
27TH SEPTEMBER TO 7TH OCTOBER 2022
The President of the ICAO Council — Salvatore Sciachitano
The Secretary General of ICAO — Juan Carlos Salazar
The President of the 41st Assembly — Ms. Poppy Khoza
Distinguished Heads of Delegations and States delegates
Eminent Observers here present
Members of the Media
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a privilege as well as an honour to address this august assembly of experts and managers of global civil aviation for a record third time as Minister of Aviation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria having been opportuned to do this at the 39th and 40th Assemblies in 2016 and 2019 respectively.
First, let me extend to you all, very warm greetings and felicitations from President Muhammadu Buhari, and the good people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I also wish to join other delegations to congratulate the President of the 41st Assembly, Ms. Poppy Khoza and other elected officials of the Assembly.
Dear delegates, as we gather here today to reflect on the developments that have taken place and the achievements and setbacks that we have recorded since the 40th Assembly, particularly the unprecedented impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on air travel globally, the type never witnessed since the end of World war II.
On this note I wish to congratulate Member States, International Organisations and all industry stakeholders for the determination, resolve, cooperation and coordination under the able leadership of ICAO in handling the devastating impact of the pandemic. Through our collective efforts, we were able to find new and even better ways and strategies to re-start, improve and facilitate the recovery of International air transportation beyond the next triennium. On this note, I must acknowledge that the ICAO Council recovery Task Force (CART) provided excellent guidance on how to resume air transport operations, while at the same time meeting the public health requirements.
Let me also commend the ICAO Council and the Secretariat for successfully organizing this year’s Innovation fair. Building upon lessons learned from the experience of the COVI-19 pandemic, this fair focused on “ Innovation for a resilient International Civil Aviation system”. We however, believe that successes in technological advancement should be complimented with the modernization of global regulatory frameworks through the liberalization of market access and convergence of regulatory approaches. This would maximize the socio-economic benefits of air transport and enhance the comfort and convenience of consumers of our services.
Since Nigeria became a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council in 1962, it has continued to make valuable contributions to the ICAO Council’s work, and its activities. Nigeria has been playing a key role in supporting the implementation of ICAO Standards, Policies and Programs internationally, and particularly in the African region. To this end, Nigeria has ratified all international air law instruments including the Montreal Protocol and amendments to articles 50(a) and 56 of the Chicago Convention. Nigeria is also championing the cause of Aviation safety, security and Facilitation in Africa.
Distinguished delegates, may I inform you that the Nigerian Government in its bid to ensure continuous compliance with ICAO Standards and to meet the challenges of a rapidly growing air transport sector, has continued to maintain properly funded agencies in order to enhance aviation safety, and ensure effective and efficient provision and management of infrastructure in all aspects of the industry as well as guarantee its sustainable development. These include an autonomous Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for safety and economic oversight of the industry; the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) for air navigation services; the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) for management of all airports; and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) for meteorological services including aeronautical meteorology. A bill to establish Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) has been passed by our bicameral parliament. This will transform the Nigerian Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) to a multi-modal Transport safety investigation agency.
The Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), the nation’s main training organization was established in 1964 in collaboration with ICAO, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The College was recently certified as an ICAO Regional Training Centre of Excellence. It runs ICAO Training Courses, in addition to its primary function of providing ab-initio and advanced technical and managerial training. The Government recently approved the establishment of an African Aviation and Aerospace University in Abuja to cater for research and development as well as the development of higher level manpower.
In this regard Nigeria is looking forward to the support of ICAO under its No Country Left Behind initiative.
Nigeria is fully committed to working with other States and to support the implementation of the Global Aviation Safety Plan (GASP), the Global Air Navigation Plan (GANP) as well as the Global Aviation Security Plan (GASeP). Overtime, Nigeria has seconded auditors to support various ICAO programmes in the areas of safety and security and has also contributed experts on various ICAO technical panels and working groups.
Since the inception of the Regional Safety Oversight Organisation, the Banjul Accord Group Aviation Safety Oversight Organization (BAGASOO), Nigeria has continued to host the organization and has remain its major contributor. In the same vein it has continued to support the activities of the Regional Accident Investigation Agency the Banjul Accord Group Accident Investigation Agency (BAGAIA).
In its effort to support ICAO’s work and activities in the Air transport field and promote economic regulation as the industry recovers from the Covid-19 crisis, Nigeria has donated substantial sum to the ICAO voluntary Air Transport Fund. We have also made significant financial contribution to the Safety and Human Resource Development Funds (HRDF), in addition to hosting several ICAO Meetings, workshops and other programmes such as the Remotly Piloted Aircraft Systems Symposium (RPAS) and the 3rd ICAO World Aviation Forum (IWAF) in 2017. In May 2022 the seventh meeting of AFI Aviation week was hosted by Nigeria. The Country will also be hosting the 14th edition of the ICAO Air Services Negotiation Event (ICAN) from 5th to 9th December 2022.
Nigeria has been a great supporter of liberalization and has continued to champion the liberalization efforts in Africa through the implementation of the Yamoussoukro Decision (YD) and the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM). I must commend African States and African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) for their renewed and vigorous commitment to the development of Air Transportation in Africa, especially the implementation of SAATM. This will not only enhance air connectivity in the continent, it will also promote tourism, trade, commerce, integration and economic development, as well as contribute to the achievement of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals in accordance with African Union agenda 2063.
I wish to call on ICAO to continue to encourage and support regional liberalization efforts, as they could be used as incentives to achieving global multilateral agreement on liberalization of market access.
I am happy to inform you that Nigeria’s efforts on liberalization has led to significant increase in the operations of foreign and domestic airlines and utilization of our airports, resulting in an annual traffic growth of over eight percent (8%). Since the coming of President Buhari, we have quadrupled the passenger numbers, doubled the number of airports, doubled the number of airlines and increased catering and other business, such that Aviation before covid became the fastest growing sector of Nigerian economy.
Our determination is to make Nigeria the most competitive hub of the African region, and make air travel the preferred mode of transportation, taking advantage of our population of over 215 million, 923,768 square kilo meter land mass, at the center of the continent with rising middle class and modest formal GDP of $450billion.
We are fully aware that achieving these would require a robust industry that is safe, secure, efficient and environmentally friendly, with modern and adequate infrastructure. This has been the focus of the Nigerian Government and have been succeeding thus far.
The Government of Nigeria has continued to make significant investments in the provision of aviation infrastructure and facilities for safe, secure, environmentally friendly, and sustainable economic development of international civil aviation. It will also keep supporting the ideals and aspirations of ICAO, and the achievements of its strategic objectives, in collaboration with other member States of the Organization
With regard to aviation security, Nigeria has continued to record significant improvements in this area with the installation of modern security equipment at our airports, continuous implementation of our national aviation security programme and up-to-date training for Aviation Security Personnel.
I am happy to inform you that the Training School of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria is certified by ICAO to train aviation security personnel. This facility will be available to train aviation security personnel both in Nigeria and in the West African Sub-region.
It is also noteworthy to mention, that Nigeria has continued to participate in the ICAO Public Key Directory (ICAO PKD), and support ICAO’s efforts to provide assistance to other African States in their programmes to introduce e-passport.
In the area of environmental protection, Nigeria is voluntarily participating in the pilot stage of ICAO’s Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) and has provided capacity training to many African States in support of the CORSIA scheme under the ICAO ACT-CORSIA programme. Nigeria is a member of the Technical Advisory Body (TAB), a body that make recommendations to the Council on the eligible emissions units for use by the CORSIA as well as being a member of the Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection CAEP), a technical committee of the ICAO Council established in 1983.
Distinguished delegates, as I earlier mentioned, Nigeria has been a member of the ICAO Council since 1962. We hold our membership of ICAO and its Council reverently and we therefore cherish the opportunity to work together with other Member States in advancing the work of the Organization for greater efficiency and effectiveness, in line with ICAO’s strategic objectives.
It is an honour and privilege to use this opportunity to solicit the support of ICAO Member States for Nigeria’s re-election into Part 2 of the ICAO Council. In addition, Nigeria also requests your support for the election and re-election of those African States, which have been endorsed by the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC), to the ICAO Council.
Distinguished colleagues, On behalf of the Nigerian delegation, I congratulate the President of the ICAO Council, Mr. Salvatore Sciacchiatano, the Secretary General of ICAO, Mr. Juan Carlos Salazar and the entire ICAO Secretariat for a well organized 41st Session of the ICAO Assembly. I also like to express my profound gratitude, to the government and people of Canada, for the kind hospitality accorded my delegation since our arrival in this beautiful city of Montreal, that has become a second home to allAviators around the world.
I wish us all a most successful deliberation and meaningful outcomes that would shape the course of international air transport in the next triennium and leave no Country behind.
Thank you for your attention.
Senator Hadi Sirika
Federal Ministry of Aviation
27th September, 2022