Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika has been recognised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) as the Champion of the No Country Left Behind (NCLB) initiative which the organisation introduced in 2014.
The special assistant to the minister, James Odaudu, disclosed that the recognition and award, bestowed on the minister at ICAO’s ongoing 41st general assembly in Montreal, Canada follows other awards Nigeria has received from the organisation since the inception of the Buhari administration.
According to the president, ICAO council, Salvatore Siacchitano, Sirika’s recognition is in recognition of his sterling contributions to the implementation of the initiative, not only in Nigeria but across other member nations.
Also, Siacchitano said Nigeria has remained the only country whose minister has attended three consecutive assembly meetings as chief delegate with quality contributions at all the sessions and further commended the minister for ensuring that the country’s representatives at ICAO since his assumption of office are not only highly experienced professionals but also committed to the ideals of the organisation.
In his response, Sirika expressed his appreciation for the award, saying that the recognition was not for him as an individual, but for Nigeria as a country and, particularly, President Muhammadu Buhari, whose commitment and support for the aviation sector since he assumed office has been top-notch.
He dedicated the award to all Nigerians whose contributions to the sector remain indelible and also those who have worked with him since becoming the minister of aviation and ensured the successes recorded.
The minister reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to the ideals of the organisation and its readiness to continue to assist lesser privileged countries to develop their aviation industry in the spirit of ‘No Nation Left Behind’.
The ICAO No Country Left Behind (NCLB) initiative highlights ICAO’s efforts to assist states in implementing ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs). The main goal of this work is to help ensure that SARP implementation is better harmonised globally, so that all states have access to the significant socio-economic benefits of safe and reliable air transport. It was introduced by Nigeria’s Olumuyiwa Bernard Aliu during his tenure as President of the ICAO Council.
The NCLB effort also promotes ICAO’s efforts to resolve Significant Safety Concerns (SSCs) brought to light through ICAO’s safety oversight audits as well as other safety, security and emissions-related objectives.
The initiative includes advocacy for the benefits of aviation for states at high levels of government, generating the political will to allocate sufficient resources to aviation development and thereby also support the sustainable development of states.
By demonstrating the strong links between ICAO’s strategic objectives and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ICAO has successfully advocated for aviation to be viewed as a strategic tool in the economic development of states.