The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, during an interactive session with journalists in Lagos, unveiled plans to upgrade major facilities with a running cost of N23bn.
It said the fund was for the upgrade of the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria, 12 years after it was inaugurated.
The Managing Director, NAMA, Matthew Pwajok, said the safe tower upgrade would cost the agency N13bn, adding that both facilities’ upgrades will cost N36bn.
Pwajok emphasised the need to close all identified safety gaps before the International Civil Aviation Organisation audit by the first quarter of 2023.
Reacting to the news, the former military commandant at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Group Capt. John Ojikutu (retd.), explained that the plan by NAMA to spend N36bn on TRACON and Safe Tower was not advisable in an election year.
“We need to seriously think of what we want to do about the sustainability of our aeronautical facilities and services within the global practices for flight operations, or do we want to be spending and spending until we cannot find money to spend again?, he asked.
He stated that in 2007, N8bn was spent on buying and installing the Safe Tower at Lagos, Abuja, Kano, and Port Harcourt airports, adding that $56m was spent separately on the TRACON, which was inaugurated in 2012.
“Thus, TRACON is only 10 years old,” he stated.
Ojukutu added, “A lot of water went under the two projects, which can wash many people away in other climes. I was a member of the Safety Implementation Committee on NAMA, NIMET, and NCAT.
“I saw a lot on how the government intervention funds were sourced and spent on the two aeronautical facilities that we are again budgeting N36bn for in an election year. About 10 years ago, a similar amount was spent.”
Ojikutu stressed that the nation could not keep up with the expenses of public funds into sectors that were supposed to generate revenues without knowing how much these sectors were generating.
He said a sector that was not generating sufficient revenue to sustain its services and operations should be merged with corresponding or relevant service providers.