by Dare Lawal
Once again, Stella Oduah, the aviation minister did not appear before the senate committee of aviation as expected on Thursday. The chairman, Senate Committee on Aviation, Senator Hope Uzodinma, however excused her because of the accident that occurred at the Abuja airport.
Uzodinma told journalists in Abuja that his committee asked the minister to come again on Tuesday next week.
He said, “We invited the Minister of Aviation and heads of the parastatals under her ministry to appear before us today (Thursday) arising from the senate resolution asking them to come and brief the senate on the last plane crash of Associated Airlines and the safety situation of the Nigerian airspace.
“The briefing was also to enable HODs in the ministry to brief the senate on some of the lapses and how they have been operating their various agencies.
“The meeting cannot hold today because of an emergency development, a 747 Cargo aircraft belonging to Saudi Arabia airline had some problems, landing into Abuja and as a result the airport is closed for air operations since this morning.
“All the agencies in the aviation ministry with their CEOs are all there battling to ensure that the aircraft is removed from the runway and ensure that normal operations resume.
“Julius Berger Nigeria Limited had been invited, they are working with AIB, FAAN, NCAA. It became necessary that we allow them sufficient time to solve the national challenge.
“We have been able to take Tuesday, which is the next legislative date by 2pm to have the minister and her team in audience.”
Also, the senate has postponed to Thursday next week the planned briefing by the service chiefs and the heads of other security agencies, including the Inspector General of Police, because some of the military chiefs were absent due to “logistics reasons”
Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, who briefed journalists on the matter, said the briefing “could not hold because it is a very delicate issue and we found that some of the heads of the security agencies and military formations were not available.”