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Re: On ICAO’s damning report on Nigerian airspace security BY TUNDE MOSHOOD - CityRovers.net || News as it is....
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Re: On ICAO’s damning report on Nigerian airspace security BY TUNDE MOSHOOD

We are aware that a certain former Minister met with some so-called ‘online influencers’ and some hack writers in Abuja some weeks ago and the agenda was simply on how to generate comments, articles and editorials and plant them in various media against no other person than the current Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN to water down the efforts he’s presently making to reposition the aviation sector as mandated by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

They have since embarked on a well-oiled campaign of calumny against the Honourable Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo SAN CON, FCIarb (UK). This coordinated attack is clearly driven by their total discomfort over the Honourable Minister’s commendable performance and focus on key issues in that sector which has confounded even his fiercest critics.

So, we know where Iliyasu Gadu is coming from.

Of course, the push-back by the reactionary forces should be expected. Beneficiaries of the old, decadent order will hardly ever give up old privileges without a fight. But, definitely, in the eyes of right-thinking Nigerians, the honourable minister is doing a damn good patriotic job by restoring the culture of sanity, efficiency and accountability in the aviation sector, consistent with President Tinubu’s renewed Hope Agenda.

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In the last few weeks, the paymaster and his hirelings wrote and planted an editorial in one of the nation’s major dailies complaining about Keyamo’s alleged ‘interference’ in what they see as ‘regulatory issues on safety’. Apparently pained by the wide applause that has greeted the Minister’s bold initiatives both in the media and civic space, these disgruntled elements decided to generate a laughable and warped ‘fact-check’ on the stated achievements with a view to discrediting them. But knowledgeable folks who read the so-called ‘fact-check’ only laughed out so loud that they could not help but call for another fact-check to check the fact-checker!

In the latest baseless criticism, Iliyasu Gadu referred to Mr. Keyamo as ‘embattled’. Haba! Who could be more embattled than his paymaster who has been running from pillar to post to clear himself of barrage of corruption charges, ineptitude during his tenure and fraudulent projects he embarked upon?

The Honourable Minister has consistently demonstrated exemplary leadership and strategic acumen, earning him accolades and admiration from members of the public. Any attempt to discredit him, particularly by a former Minister whose reputation is already tarnished, is not only baseless but also a desperate bid to deflect from his own failures.

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“Alarmist” Gadu’s spurious claims, particularly regarding the ICAO score, are unfounded. The recent 71% ICAO score is a reflection of systemic issues inherited from previous administration, and not as a result of Mr. Keyamo’s stewardship of just nine months. It was Mr. Keyamo’s brilliance and managerial expertise that steered the nation through the ICAO audit process, mitigating what could have been worse situation. Mr. Keyamo has since set up a Ministerial team, headed by himself and to be meeting monthly, to prepare for the next audit, something never done before in the sector. In fact, in Gadu’s confused state, on the one hand, he blames Mr. Keyamo for the ICAO’s score which happened under Keyamo’s watch (he feels Mr. Keyamo could have done more to remedy the situation), yet in the same breath, he criticises Mr. Keyamo for ‘interference’ in regulatory matters. Haba! He needs to clear his head properly and further consult his paymaster as to whether they should criticise Mr. Keyamo for safety issues or tell Mr. Keyamo to totally keep off safety issues.

Furthermore, on the issue of the Abuja second runway and the land dispute with the Jiwa Community, the facts speak for themselves. The head of the Jiwa Community himself, HRH Dr. IDRIS MUSA (MFR) (Sarkin jiwa), at different public fora openly acknowledged the sterling role Mr. Keyamo played the moment he assumed office in resolving the major part of the issues, allowing the contractors to immediately move to site. He was ably assisted by his counter-part in the FCT Ministry. This information is readily available and corroborated by numerous sources, contrary to the misleading narratives propagated by “Alarmist” Gadu and his cohorts. And at no point did he claim to have resolved, singlehanded, the issue. It is purely an Inter-Ministerial synergy between the FCT and the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development. So what’s the basis of the fact-check agenda for? Envy or vendetta?

Regarding the payment of backlog of funds owed to foreign airlines, the Honourable Minister’s diplomatic engagements were pivotal in resolving an issue that had threatened to paralyze the nation’s aviation sector, inflicting untold hardship and financial stress on the travelling public. His efforts, both domestically and internationally, underscore his commitment to the sector’s growth and stability. It was clear that he worked closely with the CBN to highlight the importance of prioritising his sector and the CBN heeded his passionate plea and responded. So, the question is: if the CBN itself has not disputed his claims, who are these faceless fellows disputing his claim?

The claim that the Air Peace Lagos- Gatwick route was secured during the last administration is equally laughable. The CEO of AIR PEACE himself, Allen Onyeama, went round media houses, reeling out the various efforts of Mr. Keyamo to make this happen, including several trips to the UK and the pressure he put on the UK authorities. That is hearing from the proverbial horse’s mouth. As reported by Daily Independent Newspapers on January 27, 2024, Mr. Keyamo led a delegation to the United Kingdom to tidy up the final conversations of the Airpeace London Gatwick operations. Here’s the link, https://independent.ng/fg-reinstates-commitment-towards-supporting-nigerian-airlines-growth/. It is, therefore, foolhardy of anyone to suggest that the Minister needs another meeting with his UK counterpart after the inaugural flight. Of what relevance will that be?

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In summary, the baseless attacks orchestrated by Iliyasu Gadu and his cohorts are a feeble attempt to malign Honourable Minister Keyamo. It is clearly the voice of Esau and the hand of Jacob. Such efforts will not deter the Minister from his mission to enhance the aviation sector and deliver on his mandate. The public is encouraged to see through these unfounded allegations and recognize the significant strides being made under Minister Keyamo’s leadership.

We advise Iliyasu and his gang of “influencers” that Mr. Keyamo is an old war-horse in various battles for many decades now and they are very much welcome to this one.

Moshood is SA Media and Communications to the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development

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