By Chinelo Obogo

Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, has acquired N1.7 billion mobile control towers from France to be deployed to the Abuja and Lagos Airports.

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika who was in Lagos at the weekend to inaugurate the towers said the purchase would serve during emergencies and improve air safety and security.

The procurement is in compliance with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation Part 14 that requires Air traffic management contingency strategies and plans and in compliance with ICAO Annex 11 that requires Air traffic management to have a contingency plan.

Sirika said this investment is geared towards safety and may not be something passengers would see but readily plays a vital role in getting them from point A to point B safely.

“The cost of these two mobile towers is N1.7 billion and it is geared towards improving safety of our operations which we take as key activity here in our ministry. The intent and purpose of the ministry and what we are doing is to ensure safety and efficiency of our sector without degrading and de-emphasizing issues of security and comfort.

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“How very safe you depart point A and land at point B is our primary concern and is of primary importance. So this is an extension to that intent and purpose and so the amount of 1.7billion has been spent to procure these mobile towers, we would use it in Lagos and Abuja and if need be we would take them to locations where they do not have conventional control towers.

“They are so equipped, so modernized, so efficient and so very alive. It has everything that a control tower should have, it has real time weather, we have all of that approach and departure procedures and everything else and overflight that ensures smooth flight operations and air traffic management.

” I am glad that NAMA has been proactive on this request and that President Muhammadu Buhari has been gracious and generous enough yet again to allow us do this procurement and spend this amount of money in the interest of safety.
“In addition, the managing director of NAMA is reminding me of the fact that during unusual times such as pandemics, this will come in handy when you have to create physical distancing and so on and so forth or when you have to operate in difficult circumstance; this is the solution to that.

“You know we have been approving money and procuring things for air traffic management the last time we did about 13bn on other aspects so we are working but some of these things are things passengers don’t see but are very important for our operations and very important for safety of our passengers.

“ All of the monies and energies expended in things that passengers don’t see because they are not terminal buildings and are remotely positioned but this is what keeps us going and keeps us all safe,” Sirika said.

Managing Director, NAMA, Captain Fola Akinkotu, commended the Federal Government for being proactive in matters of air safety.