By Ignatius Ushie
Following the recent incidences of contamination of Jet A1 Fuel also known as QAV, used to fuel airplanes and helicopters equipped with jet turbines, turboprops or turbo-fans, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace, Dr. Emmanuel Meribole, has paid an advocacy visit to his counterpart at the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Ambassador Gabriel Aduda on Wednesday.
In a statement made available to Transport Day in Abuja, it was stated that during the visit, Dr. Meribole stated that the essence of his advocacy visit was to apprise the top echelon of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources of the worries in the Aviation Industry of contaminated Aviation Fuel in Nigeria.
He stated that the issue has gone international as the International Airlines Transport Association (IATA) has stepped into it due to the complaint received from the Airlines operating in Nigeria.
He further informed his host that Nigeria, as a signatory to the Chicago Convention of 1944, must abide by the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) in ICAO Annex 19 which are intended to assist States in managing aviation safety risks.
Also, ICAO Annex 19 supports the continued evolution of a proactive strategy to improve safety performance which the advocacy visit intends to achieve.
Meribole stated that it was the responsibility of the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace to ensure that the necessary safety measures were put in place to prevent mishap in the air, thereby making flight to be safe for passengers and cargoes.
He informed his counterpart that the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace had taken proactive measures by giving definite instructions to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the civil aviation Regulator in Nigeria, on how to stem the problem of Aviation Fuel contamination.
He affirmed that the NCAA was already collaborating with the agencies in the Petroleum Sector and Airline Operators to nip the problem in the bud.
Responding, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Ambassador Aduda thanked Dr. Meribole for the visit which he said was meant to ensure Nigeria fulfilled its international obligations with respect to safety and security of flights in line with the Chicago Convention and its relevant Annexes.
He underscored the importance of Aviation to the economic development of any nation and agreed that everything must be humanly done to ensure that the value chain in the importation and supply of Jet A1 to the airlines was not compromised because of its attendant consequences.
Furthermore, he expressed the appreciation of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources for the visit, as it would enable his Ministry to synergize and collaborate with the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace on how to forestall the problem of Jet A1 contamination, which if not nipped in the bud, could bring bad image to the country in the international arena, as it might make foreign airlines not to refuel in Nigeria, thereby dwindling the resources that could accrue to the country.
As a result, he suggested an expanded meeting between the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace, to include the relevant stakeholders in the value chain supply of Jet A1 and the end users in the aviation sector to discuss the issue within the shortest possible time.
Permanent Secretary Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace was accompanied to the meeting by top officials of the Ministry which included, Mr. Hassan Ejibunu, Director, Air Transport Management, Engr. Clement Awogbami, Director, Aerodrome Standards.