By Cecilia John
Abuja – The Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, has said that the proposed repair of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, runway will cost N5.8 billion.
Sirika made this know when he answered questions from senators at plenary on Thursday.
He said the runway had become necessary in view of the fact that it was as critical as the economy of the country, adding that the runway was constructed over 30 years ago with no major repairs.
The minister gave a guarantee of 10 years, saying that the runway would serve the country for a long time after the repair.
According to him, the runway which is proposed to be shutdown from March will be reopened after six weeks for better service delivery.
He said that while the runway would be shutdown for six weeks, repairs would last for six months.
He assured that unlike the Port Harcourt Airport, which was shutdown for two and half years because the runway got bad, the repair of the Abuja runway would take only six weeks.
“Closure of runway is not new. It is done all over the world. The action is in the best interest of Nigeria.
“The runway is in dilapidated situation and poses security and safety threat to Nigerians.
“We will complete the maintenance work in six weeks, we will work day and night,’’ he said.
The minister reassured that the consultation on closure of the airport was however not conclusive and the ministry was opened to other options.
He promised to consult with the Nigeria Society of Engineers in respect of the options available.
Sirika further said that while the Abuja airport remained shut, the Kaduna airport would serve as an alternative.
He said the Ministry of Aviation was collaborating with Immigration, Ministry of Agriculture, Police and other relevant stakeholders for smooth operations at the Kaduna airport.
The minister did not, however, give estimate of other logistics, including the cost of relocating agencies to the Kaduna airport.