Nigerian-born Dr Benard Aliu has been re-elected by acclamation for a second three-year term as President of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Aliu secured the vote at the council’s meeting which took place in Montreal, Canada on Monday night.
In his acceptance speech, Aliu said that over the past three years, ICAO had been working tirelessly to promote the importance of civil aviation to socio-economic development.
He added that the global aviation regulatory body had given priority to national and regional investment and development planning.
Aliu said:“We have also made great strides in securing the assistance and capacity building our Member States need most, under the ICAO No Country Left Behind initiative.
“We will now look forward to its next interaction which will be more focused on aviation infrastructure development.
“The ICAO Council has played a key leadership role in this process, and its guidance will now be needed more than ever to assure the fast-tracked development of the new ICAO Global Aviation Security Plan (GASeP), endorsed at the 39th Assembly.
“This is to make ICAO’s audit processes more efficient and effective, to ensure ICAO fully optimises its extensive audit and other data, to refine all of our programmes and priorities.
“And importantly, to help ICAO’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) become fully operational by 2020.”
He emphasised on the need for ICAO to offer guidance to States on the operational, regulatory, training and capacity building requirements in support of its Aviation system Block Upgrades (ASBUs), both nationally and regionally.
According to him, this will fast track the ongoing pursuit of the objectives and targets under ICAO’s Global Plans for Safety and Air Navigation, the GASP and the GANP.
Aliu stressed that he would use his renewed mandate to drive further progress on the regulatory requirements for cybersecurity preparedness, Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) and commercial space flights.
He added that focus would also be on the development and operationalisation of an Emergency Response Policy for ICAO, amongst a wide-range of further objectives for ICAO and 21st century air transport.
Reacting to Aliu’s re-election, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, expressed the gratitude of the Nigerian government for the support he had enjoyed over the past years.
Sirika said Aliu’s re-election was a mark of recognition for his hard work and commitment to the ideals of ICAO and aspirations of the Member-nations.
According to him, it is a welcome development set to further boost Nigeria’s rising profile within the international community, especially in the aviation industry.
He said the development would also make it difficult for the Nigerian government to relent in its commitment to reform the nation’s aviation industry, as the focus of the world constantly be on it to also provide leadership amongst nations.
Aliu first assumed the office of ICAO Council President on Jan.1, 2014, having been elected by acclamation by the ICAO Council following the completion of the mandate of the previous President, Mr Roberto González.
Prior to this, he served as the Representative of Nigeria on the ICAO Council from Jan.1, 2005 to Dec. 31, 2013.