The Nigerian aviation industry will be getting a boost in manpower development as the Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu on Saturday performed a ground breaking ceremony for the construction of Air Unity Aviation College in Kebbi.
Speaking during the ceremony held at Sir Ahmadu Bello International Airport Birnin Kebbi, the state capital, Bagudu said: “We are all gathered here because this is a very important milestone and that’s why sons and daughters of Kebbi gathered here to welcome and appreciate you, Unity Aviation Services.
“Many other sons and daughters of Kebbi could not make it here but they have sent their warmth regards to the industry. The decision to situate aviation training institute and your hub of activities here is quite commendable.”
According to a press release signed by the Special Adviser (SA) Media to Kebbi State Governor, Yahaya Sarki, Bagudu observed that ordinarily, the gathering would have been here for commissioning but because over the last few years, all the stakeholders were unanimous that the way to develop the state was to cooperate with each other and support investors and show respect for investors.
“The way to develop our state is to cooperate with each other, support investors, show respect for investors and go the extra mile, so that we will give investors the confidence and comfort that the whole state is available to support their investment.
“So that they can make money and achieve their objectives while helping in developing our state. I want to assure you that not only do we appreciate what you have done to us but we are available to support in any way or form to ensure that this aviation college is completed within the shortage possible time.
“We pray that all what you set for shall come true,” he prayed.
While assuring that the siting of the college was apt and timely, Bagudu observed that one of the major hallmarks of President Buhari-led administration was to mobilise and encourage investors.
The governor prayed that the college would soon become a reality to provide the students of the institute the opportunity to compete favourably with their counterparts across the globe.
He recalled that the Sir Ahmadu Bello International Airport, where the college would be situated was constructed by the former governor of the state, Alhaji Sa’idu Nasamu-Dakingari which replaced a pre-existing airport constructed by Sen. Muhammed Adamu Alieru, adding that governance remained a continuous process and work in progress.
Bagudu urged the Air Unity Aviation Services to use its formidable contacts across the globe to also invite and influence other air service providers to come to Kebbi, saying that the space was readily available to accommodate more players.
The governor announced that President Muhammadu Buhari had graciously approved Presidential Artessanal Gold Mining Initiative, an initiative to formalise the activities of artessanal gold mining.
“This is an initiative to formalise artessanal gold mining industries, from where we expect to produce tonnages of gold and we believe that one day this airport will serve as a springboard for exportation of gold for processing abroad,” he said.
He said the state planned a dry onions processing plant which would serve as a factory for the processing and exporting of onions to different parts of the world.
In his speech, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Alhaji Abubakar Malami lauded the efforts of Gov. Atiku Bagudu for infrastructural provision and agricultural revolution across Kebbi State.
He stated that the governor was also working round the clock in terms of provision of air cargo services as well as rail services to connect Kebbi with neighbouring states.
“His Excellency, Gov. Abubakar Atiku Bagudu is not limited to land and the sky but he is also working wonderfully round the clock to connect Kebbi State with other states both by land, sky and rail.
“I must particularly appreciate and congratulate the Chairman and CEO of Air Unity Aviation Services for considering Kebbi for this project. It is my understanding that there are indeed a lot of other states across the North-West but the choice of Kebbi is not an accidental one.
“The choice of Kebbi is indeed on the ground of, among others, the necessary infrastructure and necessary support provided for the success of the project,” he said.
The minister lauded Gov. Bagudu for providing the enabling environment for many different agricultural firms to strive across the state.
Capt. Nuhu Haruna, Chief Executive Officer (CEO)/Chairman of Air Unity Aviation, represented by Mrs Magdalene Osode, described the college as a visionary and laudable project by a Illustrious son of Kebbi State and a patriotic Nigerian, Capt. Nuhu Haruna, Kebbi State Government and Civil Aviation Services.
Haruna said the project was very essential to the Nigerian transportation infrastructure and its economy at large.
“Unity Air Aviation College with its modern state-of-the-art facilities is committed to filling the gap of human resource capacity building for the advancement of aviation industry not only in Nigeria, but in the West African sub-region as a whole.
“As a full time intensive aviation training institution, this unique institute is billed to attract both local and international students.
“The aviation college with the airline, from their operational base at the Ahmadu Bello Internation Airport, Birnin Kebbi is billed to become a landmark development structure in Kebbi State and the entire region.
“The institute will cover courses such as; freights training, carriage of commercial, pilot license, light rating, instrument multimedia rating, air traffic control and aviation management among others,” he said.
This according to him, it is to bridge the gap in the industry human capacity development requirements for both domestic and international travels.
Earlier, the Kebbi Deputy Governor, Col. Sama’ila Yombe-Dabai, who is also the Chairman of the State Team Supervising Airport and Aviation Matters said the project wouldn’t have come at a better time than now.
While appreciating Gov. Bagudu for working day and night to empower youth to become Independent and be useful to themselves and the society, Yombe-Dabai also commended the governor for making Kebbi rice hub of the nation.