FG raises concern over air safety, probes Dana operations

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday expressed concerns over air incidents recorded in the country recently.

At a meeting of the council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, was asked to brief members on steps so far taken on the development.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of the meeting.

Shehu said, “A lot of quality time was spent discussing air safety. The government of Nigeria is very much concerned about safety and the life of Nigerians.

“This following the recent air incidents, minor as they were because they are no fatalities, the government did feel concerned and the minister reported to the council on steps that were taken following the last incident in Port Harcourt, Dana aircraft overshooting the runaway.

“As soon as that happened, a few seconds, a rescue team was there on the ground and few moments thereafter every passenger on board was evacuated, there was no harm to persons and this is something that should be celebrated.

“Within 24 hours, an official investigation commenced because investigators arrived in Port Harcourt and began work. One week after that, a preliminary report was prepared and it was on this that the council was briefed.

“Consequently, as  announced by the aviation authorities, the engineer and the pilot of that particular aircraft  got their licences both suspended and beyond that the government has ordered a complete audit of Dana airlines in terms of personnel, operations, technical capacity.”

The presidential spokesman said the council also approved the augmentation of the contract sum for the rehabilitation of the burnt Marina Bridge and the maintenance of the Eko (Apongbon) and Iddo Bridges in Lagos in favour of Messrs Buildwell Plant and Equipment Industries Limited, in the sum of N114,424,225.05.

The augmentation represented 12 per cent of original contract sum, as it was revised from N957,053,316.45 to N1,071,29,541.40 with an additional completion period of six months.

According to him, the council also approved augmentation for Mangu Dam, in Plateau State to N7.66bn from original cost of N5.66bn.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udoma, said he briefed the council on the recent Gross Domestic Product and other related economic performance numbers as released by the National Bureau of Statistic.

He said, “You will recall that the NBS indicated that in the last quarter of 2017 the economy had continued its positive growth trajectory by growing by 1.92 per cent.

“This is higher than the previous quarter when it grew by 1.40 per cent. And higher still from the 2nd Quarter, when it grew by 0.72 per cent.

“The numbers clearly show that the economy has fully exited recession. Council members were particularly pleased to note that this growth is very broad based with Agriculture growing at 4.23 per cent up from 3.06 per cent in the 3rd Quarter. Other sectors such as Transportation and storage, Electricity and gas production, Metal Ores, and Industry all grew.

“Particularly noteworthy were the growth recorded in Trade (2.07 per cent and Services (o.10 per cent) after six quarters of negative growth. Council members were also happy to note that overall the non-oil sector grew by 1.45 per cent, its strongest since 2015. Inflation is also trending downwards moving down from 18.72 per cent in January 2017 to 15.13 per cent in January 2018.”

The Minister of Niger Delta, Usani Usani, also said a new design for Section 5 of East-West Road (Oron-Calabar) had been completed.

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