Festus Keyamo, Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, has stated that the second runway at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) Abuja will be finished in 12 months and ready for operations.
The minister who spoke after inspection of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport said, with the payment of compensation currently ongoing, work is set to commence next week and in 12 months time, the runway will be ready.
He stated, “you know I had to go and meet the FCT minister and to get that project off the ground in terms of clearing the obstacles on the way. So as of today the report I have is the money we paid to FCT for them to pay to the settlers there, they have started paying them and they started moving.
“I asked the CCECC people who are doing the project and they said that they were giving me a date of sometime next week for them to clear the site or move to the site. So, we are going to invite Mr. President to come and commission it. And it’s a project Nigerians have been waiting for forever. It has been a controversial project from our Obasanjo time to now.
READ ALSO: FHA AND THE HOUSING PROJECTS
“Well, thankfully, this government is set to commence that project and it’s one of the projects that is a low hanging fruit for us. And we think it’s extremely important. You remember the other time when there was a problem with the Abuja runway we all had to go to Kaduna, you know, in a very inconvenient manner, to board our plane.
“So, the second runway for a gateway like Abuja for the capital city is extremely important and I pray that all agencies of government, the National Assembly, the presidency, will give us the support to make sure we deliver that project within 12 months.”
The minister also explained that the federal government halted the Nigerian Air project based on red flags raised by some aviation agencies concerning the process as well as the outcry of Nigerians.
He however, assured air passengers of improved comfort in Nigerian airports soon, noting that he has identified chillers, elevators and conveyor belts as priority areas which will be fixed soon.
According to the minister, “Well, on my arrival at any airport both locally and internationally, what passengers want to see are three things; your chillers; they want to come into a conducive cool atmosphere. They also want to see that your lifts are working for those who are tired or cannot climb stairs so your lift or escalators must be working and the third one are the conveyor belts which are those belts that bring out the bags
“Now on a visit to most of our airports, those are the problems we are facing. Even with this new facility, I understand only four of the ten chillers are working. Now, what is the immediate solution? I have told them that my mentality to some of these things is that for example, most of those lifts that are obsolete instead of fixing them and fixing them, you know, every two months they will bring a bill to fix them and by the time you fix three times you are already almost buying a new one. I told them to get rid of them. Let us buy high quality lifts to promote a new brand here.
“The ones I saw here are not good enough. I know about lifts; they’re not good enough. So, I will not be here and for them to go and buy substandard lifts again, the ones that can take high traffic and we see them all over the world lifts are not what you just buy locally. There are good brands all over the world.
“So I have told them to get rid of these lifts. I won’t spend the money repairing them every two months. That’s my attitude towards work. Let’s be patient, rush through emergency procedures for procurement and buy good lifts for Nigerians to enjoy the arrival and good brands.”