The Nigerian Senate has summoned the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola and Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE), over the Federal Government’s plan to shut down the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja, for repairs of the runway.

Highlights

  • The Government proposed the use of Kaduna International Airport, by passengers during the six-week closure of the Abuja Airport
  • The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika appeared before the Senate on Thursday to explain the intended closure
  • The proposed repair work will gulp =N=5.8billion (about 11.7 million US dollars)  as against =N=1.2billion (about 2.4 million USD) earmarked for similar purpose in the 2015 budget.
  • The Senate President explained that the reason for summoning all parties was to ensure that all the stakeholders have an opportunity to extensively explore the alternative options to the proposed repair work

Details

Fashola and Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) are expected to appear before the Senate on Tuesday, 17th January 2017.

Minister of Works, Power and Housing Babatunde Fashola

The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika who appeared before the Senate on Thursday has also been requested to reappear on Tuesday along with the construction firm to handle the planned project (Julius Berger).

The Senate President explained that the reason for summoning all parties was to ensure that all the stakeholders have an opportunity to extensively explore the alternative options to the proposed repair work.

Cost 

Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, while briefing the Senate, said the proposed repair work to be carried out on the runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja will gulp =N=5.8billion as against =N=1.2billion earmarked for similar purpose in the 2015 budget.

Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika

Senator Sirika said the =N=1.2billion earlier earmarked for repair work on the runway of the Airport in the 2015 budget , was not for a comprehensive repair work to be carried out now arising from thorough integrity tests conducted on the 3.6km runway last year by experts from three different international consultants on runways constructions and repairs.

According to him, “the repair work as planned by the immediate past government was for some portions of the runway but integrity tests carried out on the runway last year revealed that the entire length of the 3.6 km runway has clear signs of complete failure technically if urgent comprehensive repair work is not carried out on it which brought about the new estimated cost of the project”, he said.

The Minister cited safety of air passengers as the all important reason for the planned total closure of the Airport and subsequent movement of air flights operations to Kaduna but failed to tell the Senate the cost implication of the option believed by many Senators to be within the range of what would have been used for construction of a second runway.

It would be recalled that the Federal Government of Nigeria had approved the closure of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) in Abuja for six weeks between February and March this year to allow Julius Berger carry out repairs on the damaged runway.

The Government proposed the use of Kaduna International Airport, by passengers during the six-week closure of the Abuja Airport.

NP/VON

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