The House of Representatives has asked the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 to reopen the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, which was shut in March 2020 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
It said this would restore lost jobs and cater to the travel needs of thousands of passengers, largely from Northern Nigeria, who relied on the airport for their international and domestic engagements.
The House also called for the reopening of the international wings of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, and the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, for ease of air transportation.
The House made the call in a resolution it passed on Wednesday in Abuja.
The resolution was passed after the Leader of the House, Rep. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, the Deputy Minority Leader, Rep. Toby Okechukwu, and 34 others, moved a motion on the subject.
Although the House acknowledged that shutting Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano and the international wings of the Port Harcourt, Enugu airports was a commendable step to contain the spread of Covid-19, it noted that it was also high time the facilities were reopened for business and travel operations.
In the case of the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, the House said that it had remained closed while other airports shut at the same time in 2020 had been reopened.
The motion reads partly, “The House also recalls that on 19 March 2020, among the urgent drastic responses to COVID–19 Pandemic was the closure of three out of the five International Airports in Nigeria namely: Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu and Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa;
“Acknowledges that if drastic steps had not been taken, the lives of Nigerians would have been exposed to the grave impact of the coronavirus when the world was still in quandary on how to manage the pandemic;
“Concerned that Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano has remained closed despite credence to the impact and importance of the Airport to Nigerians, foreigners and the economy as it serves 15 passenger airlines, which include Kabo Airline, Air peace, Aero Contractors, Max Air, etc. being local airlines and Egypt Air, Ethiopian Airlines, etc as International Airlines;
“Aware that the Airport is the hub of Muslim Pilgrimages in Northern Nigeria, alongside serving other exigencies like emergency medical evacuations and between 2010 and 2015, had a yearly average of 391,637 passengers flying the route for either business or pleasure;
“Cognisant of the losses of jobs on account of the continued closure of the Airport as well as jeopardizing investments in the Information and Communications Technology, facilities and meteorological equipment which the government may not be able to repair immediately, and so susceptible to malfunctioning, contrary to the expectations in an industry that runs on the precision of judgement on anchored working equipment and facilities;
“Also concerned that the other two Airports that were closed alongside the Airport have resumed operations, hence the continued closure of Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport has brought untold hardship in many dimensions from economic to social loss of revenues generated by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) from the Airlines, other persons whose livelihoods are intrinsically linked to the operations of the Airport such as car hire operators, retailers of different products etc.”
The House further directed its Committee on Aviation to interface with the Honourable Minister of Aviation, without further delay, to agree on a timeline to reopen Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, and the international wings of the Port Harcourt, Enugu airports.
The resolution secured a unanimous voice vote at the session, which was presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Rep. Ahmed Idris Wase.