The Minister of state for Aviation, Alhaji Hadi Sirika on Monday identified training and retraining of personnel as a critical component for aviation safety.
He made the disclosure shortly after commissioning series of projects executed by the Rector, Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria, Kaduna State.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) listed the projects commissioned by the Minister to include Flying School Automation, renovation of classrooms in use since 1970s, Ganny 1000 Trainer, Airfield Ground Lightening Laboratory and Automatic Weather Observation unit.
Sirika observed that training and retaining remained the most important aspect of human endeavour, adding that without a well-trained aviator there would be no development in the industry.
“Training is number one safety issue, once you deal with training and you have well-trained personnel, you are guaranteed safety and this industry of ours is all about safety operations.
“It is not easy to take up from one position and land on another, all of those safety critical matters must be dealt with and you can only achieve maximum safety when you have well-trained aviator.
“Whether the pilot, engineer, traffic controller, cabin crew among others, that’s why the focus of this administration is to ensue this institution (NCAT) grow to the capacity of where it is and beyond,” he said.
Sirika noted with satisfaction that NCAT is currently a Regional Training Centre of Excellence for International Civil Aviation Ofanisation (ICAO), assuring that the college was being improved upon.
While appreciating the management of NCAT for transforming the college through the completion of gigantic projects, the minister said most of the projects were started and completed by the present administration.
“Just two months ago, we bought Fire Fighting Simulator worth about N5.2 billion to be domiciled here in Zaria for training purposes, initial training and recurrences; so, training is more important than any other thing.”
On NCAT land encroachment by neighbouring communities, the minister said they have it on record that since early 1950s, all compensation was dealt with and paid.
“Records and evidences have shown that it had been done. I have discussed this encroachment issue with Gov. Nasiru el-Rufai of Kaduna State. We are also partnering with the Federal Government to address the problem.
“We will tender it and those who encroached have to leave the land or we will process it lawfully back to the college and even for the safety of people who are building those houses I am sure they will understand and leave.
“It is better that we have robust industry that will offer employment gainfully to thousands of people and it is better they leave the premises peacefully before we make them leave lawfully,” Sirika advised.