FG re­jects Port Har­court air­port rat­ing

Daily Trust - - NEWS - From Ab­dul­la­teef Aliyu, Lagos

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment yes­ter­day re­jected the sur­vey which rated Port Har­court In­ter­na­tional Air­port among the worst air­ports in the world.

Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary, Min­istry of Avi­a­tion, Ha­jia Binta Bello, said the sur­vey con­ducted by Sleep­ingInAir­ports.net, a web­site that re­views the best and worst air­ports in the world, was not re­flec­tive of the re­al­ity of Nige­rian air­ports.

Port Har­court In­ter­na­tional Air­port was on Tues­day ranked the worst air­port in Africa and one of the worst in the world by Sleep­ingInAir­ports.net.

The web­site an­nu­ally con­ducts a sur­vey by ask­ing trav­ellers to rate their air­port ex­pe­ri­ences based on ser­vices and fa­cil­i­ties avail­able within the ter­mi­nal, clean­li­ness, cus­tomer ser­vice, com­fort and their over­all air­port ex­pe­ri­ence.

Ac­cord­ing to the web­site, vot­ers sug­gested that apart from be­ing the worst air­port in the world, Port Har­court Air­port should also win the ti­tle of the most cor­rupt air­port in the world.

Speak­ing with news­men in Lagos on the side­lines of the 21st an­nual sem­i­nar of League of Air­port and Avi­a­tion Cor­re­spon­dents (LAAC), the Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary said Nige­rian air­ports are not as bad as por­trayed in the sur­vey.

She said though there were chal­lenges at some of the in­ter­na­tional air­ports ow­ing to con­struc­tion works that are on­go­ing, she as­sured that the chal­lenges would be over as soon as the projects are com­pleted.

Ac­cord­ing to her, the on­go­ing new ter­mi­nals in Lagos, Kano, Abuja and Port Har­court would be com­pleted and com­mis­sioned by the first quar­ter of next year.

On the air­port rat­ing, she said, “It is up to read­ers to agree or to dis­agree on the rat­ing.When I saw the rat­ing, the ques­tion I asked is that do we still have touts at the air­ports, are our air­ports dirty, are we cor­rupt, do we agree with all those ques­tions? It is some­thing that I can­not cat­e­gor­i­cally say, ‘yes we are cor­rupt, our air­ports are not clean, our air­ports are con­gested, and so on’. I am sure you can ac­tu­ally see if th­ese air­ports are ac­tu­ally dirty, if they are full of touts and if they are chaotic. This morn­ing I flew in through Abuja air­port and about five air­lines were board­ing at the same time. I did not see any chaos there, it was a smooth op­er­a­tion, pas­sen­gers were go­ing in their var­i­ous buses as­signed for the air­lines and the whole op­er­a­tion was very smooth’’.

“So I can­not ac­cept that the air­ports are dirty, just as I can­not ac­cept that the air­ports are con­gested. If we have a tem­po­rary chal­lenge be­cause of the con­struc­tion of ter­mi­nals that are go­ing on in Abuja for in­stance, we all know that there is a lot of work go­ing on there. If we have tem­po­rary chal­lenge, it is some­thing that will come to past im­me­di­ately the ter­mi­nals’ re­mod­elling is com­pleted,” she added. Sul­tan of Sokoto, Muham­madu Sa’ad Abubakar III, yes­ter­day said tra­di­tional rulers will not re­lent in the war against po­lio un­til Nige­ria is de­clared po­lio-free by the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Speak­ing while re­ceiv­ing mem­bers of the Dis­trict 9125 of the Ro­tary Club In­ter­na­tional led by the Dis­trict Gover­nor, Phar­ma­cist Mike Omo­to­sho, he said the fight against the menace was not yet over.

“It is so close to end po­lio but yet so far and if we go to sleep, it will be a vi­cious cy­cle again. We should not re­lent. We should tighten our belt and keep on do­ing what we have been do­ing in the last eight years,” he said.

The Sul­tan said sick­ness and poverty have no re­li­gion or eth­nic­ity and that as such, all hands should be on deck to end po­lio in the coun­try.

He dis­closed their planned meet­ing with all stake­hold­ers in the fight to re-strate­gize on how to com­pletely end the menace.

Ear­lier, the Dis­trict Gover­nor ex­pressed de­ter­mi­na­tion to en­sure that no child is crip­pled by po­lio again.

He noted that the coun­try has not recorded any new case of po­lio in about one year, adding that if it could be sus­tained for the next two years, it would be de­clared a po­lio-free na­tion.

Photo: Ikechukwu Ibe

From left: Vice Chair­man Nige­ria Na­tional Po­lio Com­mit­tee, Dr. Kazeem Mustapha, Chair­man Nige­ria of the com­mit­tee, Dr. Tunji Fun­sho and Dis­trict Ro­tary 125 Gover­nor, Dr. Mike Omo­to­sho, dur­ing a press brief­ing to mark 2015 World Po­lio Day in Abuja on Wed­nes­day.

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