Gombe to NiMET: Our airport is safe

Rebecca Mu'azu

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Gombe State Government and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NiMet have agreed to strengthen partnership in order to guarantee safe flight services at the Gombe International Airport.

A statement from the Special Assitant to Governor Yahaya on Media and Publicity, Mr. Ismaila Uba Misilli, said the move by Governor Yahaya followed a threat by NiMet to withdraw its services from the Gombe airport due to non payment of accumulated service fees  to the agency, as well as  non compliance with certain terms provided for in the memorandum  of understanding.

The statement said it was a swift move to avert the withdrawal of NiMet’s services from the Gombe Airport,  the Governor, Alhaji Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, met the Director-General of the Agency, Professor Sani Abubakar Mashi, in Abuja, where he gave his commitment to offset the backlog and  provide more standard equipment to ease NiMet operations at the airport.

It said the Governor disclosed that he had already approved the release of 100 million Naira as part of efforts to ensure standards and safe flight services at the Gombe Airport.

He said he was aware of the importance of the airport to both domestic and international aviation services,  not only to the people of Gombe state but the North east in general, hence he is determined to collaborate with NiMet and other relevant authorities to ensure smooth and safe  flight operations in the state.

He appealed to the agency to withdraw its altimatum and allow his administration to study the memorandum with a view to taking the necessary steps to address all the issues raised.

Governor Yahaya assured the agency that despite the heavy debt overhang he inherited from the previous administration,  he was willing to honour and comply with contract obligations and agreements entered into.

For  Professor Abubakar Mashi, the  agency had written several letters to the previous Government  regarding their claims of backlog of payments and reminders on the unsigned MoU without any positive response.

He therefore appealed to Governor Yahaya to intervene and address the matter in order to prevent NiMet from withdrawing their services, which has the consequences of leading to the shutting down of air operations in Gombe.

Professor Mashi also expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the discussions as well as the Governor’s commitment and resolve, thereby withdrawing NiMet’s ultimatum as requested by the Governor.

He agreed to collaborate more with Gombe state in enhancing their operations in the state.