Posted by PlanetArk on
Nigeria will clear a thick forest and stagnant ponds at Lagos airport as part of urgent reforms to the aviation sector after two plane crashes that killed more than 200 people, the airports authority said on Sunday.
ABUJA - Nigeria will clear a thick forest and stagnant ponds at Lagos airport as part of urgent reforms to the aviation sector after two plane crashes that killed more than 200 people, the airports authority said on Sunday.
Safety standards at Nigerian airports have come under close scrutiny since President Olusegun Obasanjo ordered the reforms in December following the crashes, which came within seven weeks from each other.
"Within the perimeter of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport is a vast forest where activities such as palm wine tapping, bushmeat hunting, quarry and other activities thrive," the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) said.
It said the clearing of the forest was part of efforts to bring Nigeria's aviation infrastructure into line with international standards ahead of a technical audit by the International Civil Aviation Organisation in September.
"The honourable minister (of aviation) has directed that on no account must Nigeria fail this litmus test," the FAAN said.
Speaking days after a plane crashed at Port Harcourt airport in southern Nigeria on Dec. 10, killing 106 people, Obasanjo said the aviation sector was tainted by corruption and corners were being cut in every part of the system.
The disaster came just seven weeks after another airplane crashed near Lagos, killing 117 people.
The number of passengers transported by air annually in Africa's most populous country has doubled to 8 million in the past six years, according to regulators, but experts say neither the fleet nor the airports have kept up to date.
Obasanjo has sacked several senior aviation officials and set up a presidential taskforce to spearhead urgent reform.
In its statement, the FAAN said new managers who took over as part of the shake-up had discovered there had been years of "gross misapplication of scarce revenue" by the authority.
"Huge amounts of money were spent on various supplies such as fitness kits, jogging kits ... furniture, uniforms, liquid soap," the statement said.
It added that from now on, FAAN funds would be spent on core technical and aviation-related matters that would promote safety and good service.
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