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FG reviews strategy for airports’ repairs

THE Federal Government has reviewed its plan for the repair of the nation’s airport in a way that the project will now cost less than the amount initially voted for it.

Essentially, the project was to gulp N90 billion if the government were to build new airport terminals.

But rather than build new terminals to replace the decrepit ones in Lagos and to remodel others, the government has decided to do a patch job to bring the Murtala Muhammed International Airport terminal to at least a level at which it can function.

And for the patch job, the Federal Government would now need N19 billion for the project.

The change of strategy to upgrade 11 airports across the country was disclosed by the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. George Uriesi in an interactive session with reporters at the weekend.

“The strategy of Njeze’s N90 billion has changed. We need urgent solution, a quick fix to save the facilities. If we want to build a new terminal for Lagos, it will take us about 38 months. So, N19 billion is the strategy which is to patch up these things for now to take away the immediate pains of travellers,” he said.

Uriesi who lamented the poor state of the nation’s airports said, “these are not the best the country can offer”.

According to him, “a lot of things were wrong and we cannot be doing things the same way again. A lot of work need to go on. Our airports do not need to be in a ramshackle state with breakdown of the air conditioning system and the carousels. The responsibilities are enormous”.

The Guardian had recently raised concern over the feasibility of December 2011 deadline for the remodelling of the 11 airports.

While the Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah-Ogiewonyi had assured of delivering the projects by December, nothing suggests that it will be realisable as virtually all the airports are in a serious state of decay. The airports marked for remodelling are those in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano, Calabar, Enugu, Owerri, Benin, Kaduna, Yola and Osubi. Most of the airports set for remodelling across the country leave much to desired, as they are still in their old state of serious decay.

While the Port Harcourt airport poses huge security risk, the Lagos airport which records the heaviest traffic has not performed better.

Virtually all the facilities, including navigational tools, are begging for urgent attention to ensure seamless air travel and security.

Worried by the plummeting fortune of aviation in the country, a member of the Vision 20:20:20 committee, Mr. Chris Azu Aligbe, while taking a holistic view of the decaying aviation facilities, lack of good aviation policy, and other issues, said without political will, “we will continue to chase shadows and continue to play second fiddle to Ghana in aviation development”.

He, however, demanded that the Federal Government urgently make public the framework for the proposed N19 billion remodeling projects or concession them in order to fix the deteriorating facilities.

N90 billion was reportedly earmarked for the project last year under the immediate past Aviation Minister, Fidelia Njeze who hyped the remodelling of some airports in 10 months in 2010.

-Guardian

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Posted by on Oct 30 2011. Filed under Latest Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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