On funding for the projects
I’ve talked with the contractor and seen and I know there are challenges concerning funds but I can assure that in the next few days we’ll ensure that we get funds because we’re impressed with the standard of work that is being carried out here and can see the commitment of the contractor. As I get back I’ll get my team and we’ll put our heads together to ensure that work resumes. The good thing is that the budget has been approved and as soon as Mr. President signs it into law there will be funds to continue with the project because we were properly captured in the budget. I believe that in the next two months we should talk of commissioning this project. Like I said before the roadmap for the transformation of the aviation industry is on course and we’ll ensure that all projects that were started by my predecessors are completed. We’re not keen or interested in embarking on new projects except where it involves security and safety but we’re committed to ensuring that we complete these projects.
Challenges on the cargo terminal
On the Cargo Terminal for perishable and fresh products the ministry deliberately sited the biggest Cargo Terminal here but we agree that we have some challenges. You know that this is not a civil airport, this is a military base and we have some challenges but we’re discussing with the authorities and as soon as we’re able to get over these challenges we’ll be able to continue work. But we’re committed and we’re determined. This is the Food Basket of the nation and we believe that the transformation agenda will make a lot of meaning to our people if this project is commissioned.
Godwin Akor of Daily Newswatch: What is the real issue?
I don’t think that the challenge that we have with the siting of the Cargo Terminal is about compensation. You know that all of us are working for the Federal Government. The Nigeria Air Force and the Ministry of Aviation are all products of the Federal Government and we’re all under the leadership of His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and his transformation agenda and we’re all committed to doing it; that is what we’ve agreed to do. But we must agree that this is a military base and that issues of security those of us who are not experts have no authority over them and when they’re raised we have to respect those professionals who are charged with the responsibility of taking care of our security. We must listen to them and this is what we’re doing. We’re discussing and as soon as we’re over with them we’ll take off. These are not issues of compensation. How can the Federal Government compensate the Federal Government, what is the meaning of that? As soon as we’re through we’ll take off from there.
On allegations against the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Aviation
Let me use this opportunity to say that recent comments from the public or the media that the Permanent Secretary is frustrating the remodeling exercise in the aviation industry there is no iota of truth in those assertions. I’m the Minister supervising the Aviation Ministry for now and I’m also aware that on-going projects and new projects were captured in the 2014 Appropriation Bill that was submitted to the National Assembly. It has just been approved, we’re waiting for Mr. President’s assent and as soon as that is done work will continue. No money is being held by the Permanent Secretary or is any one frustrating. I’m on top of the situation in the Ministry of Aviation and I’ve not seen any form of insubordination from my Permanent Secretary or any staff. I know that there are issues but we’ve been able to resolve them as a family in the ministry. I want to assure Nigerians that the roadmap for the aviation industry is on course. It was dully approved by Mr. President and passed through the Federal Executive Council and I’m committed to ensuring that we complete these projects.