Federal government says plans are on to establish an aerospace university for the country.

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika disclosed this at the weekly ministerial briefing organized by the Presidential Communications Team.

He said when the university comes on board, it will boost activities as well as produce the needed manpower in the aviation sector.

“We have to establish an aerospace university, we started this journey in civil aviation with countries like Brazil. We started our own in Zaria in 1963, with a partnership between Nigerian government and the UNDP and since then, till now, we don’t produce even rivets as a nation but Brazil that we started with is now producing all sorts of aircrafts.

“So we think that we should have a university to go deeply into research and development and create those opportunities within our sector, turn out those young men and women with good brains to go into the venture of aerospace and aviation, make a lot of money and earn income for our country as well as develop our capacity and change the narratives.”

Sirika said the current administration is taking the step to avoid a situation of the past, when ventures in the aviation sector did notwithstand the test of time.

He further noted that the university would be world class and collaborate with some famous institutions.

“Believe me, civil aviation alone can sustain our economy. Ethiopia is half-Nigeria, there are 85 million people and their major source of income and economy is Ethiopian Airlines. So, civil aviation alone can actually run an economy, it depends on how you do it.

“But we’ve seen that we are not producing anything out of civil aviation and all the aviation ventures in the country keep collapsing and that has compounded the problem. We attribute that to the lack of capacity to manage.

“So we are going to establish the institution in partnership with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), other friendly countries and some universities around the world. So it will be a world class university and there is a small team working on it now. We have submitted our concept notes to the Nigerian Universities Commission and it is being attended to.

“I think this university will come up very soon, before the end of the year. The Minister of the FCT has given us the land. It will be half online and half real time studies.”

The Minister also said the government intends to introduce a policy that will regulate the use of drones in the country.

“Managing them alone will become such a huge challenge because they will be operating around or within the air space and somebody needs to regulate them. So we thought that we should create a policy.

“If drones are just being flown around and there is a big airplane, it could hit the airplane, get ingested in the engine and cause disaster. We have seen examples of such happenings in the UK, US and many other places. So we thought that we should develop a policy towards those remotely piloted aircrafts to have them organized and regulated,”

The Aviation Minister also announced that the country’s national carrier would come on board next year.

“We are on our way. As for the timeline, we will have this airline in 2022 by the grace of God and we will start with the domestic and escalate into international and we are partnering with so many. We are discussing and we will get the best deal for Nigeria and Nigerians because for sure, the market is there,” he said.

Sirika also stated that the country would concession its airports based on provisions of the law and it will not fail.

The Minister assured Nigerians that all is being done to make air transportation more affordable for citizens, through an improvement of facilities and services.

“Nigeria is a country of over 200 million people who are highly mobile. So, what we are doing is first and foremost, to develop the infrastructure that will make civil aviation function.

“And once that is done, it will increase the availability of the service and because there is more supply it will help in bringing down the price,” he said.

He said all the achievements he enumerated were contained in a roadmap developed for the aviation sector, which had since been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Bello Wakili