By GABRIEL AGBEJA
ABUJA- The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, on Thursday in Abuja said that the construction of a second runway at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) would be completed by November 2023.
Sirika made this known when he received the National Assembly joint committee (Senate and House of Representatives) on Aviation at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja for oversight function.
According to him, the Federal Government is ready to speedily finance the project from the mobilisation stage to the final stage.
Sirika , who stated that the contract was supposed to be for a period of 12 months, added that the maintenance would be for another 12 months.
The minister affirmed that the project would be delivered before the end of the current government.
“The work has commenced in harness, and it is our intention to deliver the project as soon as possible. It is practicable. Government is committed to this project and to fund it.
“We are here with the two committees of National Assembly (NASS), the Senate and House Representative with their Chairmen on oversight and particularly on this spot.
“This is where the much awaited Second runway is coming. As you can see the contractor has been mobilised to site, “ he said.
The Chairman Senate Committee on Aviation, Mrs Abiodun Olujimi, commended Sirika for efforts made so far to kick start the project.
She promised that the NASS would keep supporting the project toward completion as scheduled.
“Just as the minister said, we came on an oversight visit to the site of the second runway. It has been pending for a very long time.
“ You remember at a particular time, the airport had to be shut down because we had only one runway and it was bad. So, it is the initiative of the minister to ensure that the second runway took effect.
“We are grateful that we are here and we have seen that the contractors are mobilised. They are here and they are working. The minister just said that the funding would be approved constantly, “ she said.
Speaking, Mr Nnolim Nnaji, Chairman House of Representative on Aviation, said the second runway was necessary as Abuja happened to be the Capital of Nigeria.
Nnaji expressed optimism that all relevant stakeholders would synergies and cooperate to ensure quick completion of the project.
“ We have been expecting this construction to take off, for some time now we have been funding a budget to accommodate for the second runway.
“ Abuja being the capital of Nigeria with an aggressive infrastructural development and economic base, we feel it is important to have another runway which is very important .
“This runway, when completed will be the longest runway possibly in west Africa, which is about 4.2 KM. against the existing one that is about 3.7km,“ he said.
According to him, the second runway is coming with a control tower, taxi way and other facilities. In the second phase of this project we will have a terminal building around this place.
He said the project that was at the mobilisation stage at present would cost 72 billion naira for the construction.
“As we are happy with the minister, we also congratulate ourselves to be part of this success story.
“We will be here to witness as the chairman of the committee and members of the Aviation committee the commissioning of this project, “he said.
Contributing, Sen. Smart Adeyemi, Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT, said he came to consider the level of compensation to be given to the indigenes and farmers, whose economic trees were affected.
He commended Sirika for the landmark achievement regarding the commencement of the project.
According to him, all relevant stakeholders under the current administration should be proud of it.
“My involvement here is to look at the length of the route and have an idea of the compensation that will arise from the economic trees, to be given to the indigenous people of this territory.
“The 2022/2023 budget of the FCT is still with us. My coming here is to see how we can probably inject some funding to meet the needs of the indigenous people,“ he said.
“ This is to ensure peaceful construction of work and to secure the prayer and support of the indigenes for this project,“ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the new Cargo terminal and Nigeria Air headquarters buildings were also visited.(NAN)