BY AMOS DUNIA, ABUJA – Following the inability of international flights to land at the Mohammed Murtala International Airport, thousands of air passengers bound for Lagos from different parts of the world are presently stranded in various West African countries where their flights were diverted.
It was gathered that the development is as a result of faulty equipment at the MM International Airport Lagos that were not calibrated for over a year now.
The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), which is at the centre of the storm, had hitherto lay the blame on poor weather which led to the diversion of the flights mainly airlines from the Middle East, Europe and North America.
However, checks by Forefront News indicate that the problem is far beyond poor visibility as a result of harmattan but faulty landing equipment.
British Airways, Delta, Emirates and Qatar were the first to experience the diversion of the flights to Accra – Ghana and Dakar – Senegal amongst, a development that led to overcrowding of the two cities as the unexpected thousands of passengers had to be checked into hotels for about four days now.
It was gathered that if the ILS navigation system at the MM International Airport, Lagos was functioning, even if with limited visibility, some of the airlines would have been able to land without much difficulty.
Further checks revealed that the ILS navigation system have completely packed up in addition to other needed equipment to ease landing.
The development is already causing so much draw back to Nigeria as some management of the airlines got infuriated and directed their airlines to return back to US as against waiting for Nigeria to put its act together.
A US Based human rights lawyer, Emmanuel Ogebe
noted that the loss to the nation’s economy as a result of the diverted flights is humongous. Ogebe said; “Each flight departing Nigeria is capital flight and each flight coming into the country is capital in terms of the Forex to be spent by the passengers, goods and services they are bringing in among others.
“It is incidents like this that make the world wonder whether we are indeed ready for business. Can you imagine a long haul flight that came all the way from America only to turn and go back because of bad governance? No serious foreign investor would want to go through that.
“It is ironic that just a week after British Airways set a world record for the fastest flight from New York to London at under fours by reach a speed of 800 miles per hour, we set a record for the slowest flight from New York to Lagos taking more than 48 hours instead of 10 hours and still not reaching.
“This graphically illustrates that as the world is advancing, we are retreating. This is not a case of US banning Nigeria. This is Nigeria banning itself.”