A mild drama ensured at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Zaria as the Senate Committee on Aviation on oversight duties led by the Committee deputy chairman Senator Bala N’allah threatened to arrest the contractor Mushaj Fahaj Nigeria Ltd. for absconding with about Thirty-Seven million naira (37M) meant for the completion of the colleges’ third hangar project.
The College Rector and Chief executive of the college Captain Abdulsalami Mohammed gave a brief presentation of the challenges of the college since its establishment in 1964.
He stressed that some of them include :
– the non-release of funds meant for projects within the college,
– fluctuating exchange rate for dollar denominated projects,
– non-availability of foreign exchange, high cost of Aviation gasoline (AV GAS 100LL),
– inadequate number of instructors and personnel,
– insufficient office space for staff,
– cafeteria and hostel accommodation for students of the college,
– lack of equipment for instrument flight training and absence of runway lights for night flying and,
– security of college premises because of a lack of perimeter fencing which has led to encroachment of the college land.
He said the challenges are affecting operations of the college but however disclosed that in the midst of all these the college had tried to be optimistic thereby recording several gains.
Captain Mohammed said that in 2016 alone, 716 students graduated from the college offering 44 courses in the various fields of aviation technology and three hundred and ninety-five students are still enrolled in twenty-nine courses.
He also disclosed that several projects have been completed such as establishment of an airfield lighting workshop, provision of infrastructure for aircraft piston overhaul, provision of a water treatment plant, provision of airfield advance guard security equipment and successful completion of several international certifications.
Five members of the committee which paid the visit;
1. Senator Ben Murray-Bruce representing Bayelsa east,
2. Senator Mohammed Lafiagi representing Kwara North,
3. Senator Rilwan Akanbi representing Oyo South,
4. Senator Ahmed Ogembe representing Kogi Central and,
5. Senator Bala N’allah, all commended the school for a job well done.
They however maintained that the 53 year old institution should be upgraded to meet 21st century challenges so as to be able to compete with its counterparts globally.
Senator N’allah criticized the absence of key infrastructure especially runway lights which he said that had they been installed within the last fifteen years, they would have saved the nation millions of dollars in foreign exchange
They committee which visited several ongoing projects within the school premises were incensed upon realization that the school’s third hangar project had not been completed, Senator N’allah threatened the arrest of the contractor upon realization that he had been mobilized with about thirty-seven million (37M) naira and had only performed a job valued at about eleven million (11M) naira.
The college principal architect said all efforts to get the contractor back on site had proved abortive.
The committee finally agreed that if a one week ultimatum given to the contractor was not honored, he would be reported to the economic and financial crimes commission for due prosecution and full refund of the sum.
After the visit at the college of technology, the committee proceeded to the Kaduna International Airport to assess the ongoing repair works at the airport.
Senator Ben Murray-Bruce commended the contractor for a job well-done but appealed to the Ministry of Aviation for prompt release of funds so that the job can be completed within the next two weeks as promised by the contractor.
Other projects at the Airport such as the computerized landing system and painting of the runway were also assessed by the committee
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