By LAWANI MIKAIRU
ABUJA — Lack of funds from the Federal Ministry of Aviation has forced contractors handling the remodeling of terminal projects at various airports in the country to pull out of site.
Only the five new terminals being built in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano, Abuja and Enugu, which have concession arrangement, have construction still ongoing. Work has stopped on the other airport projects across the country.
Sources, however, said there was enough money earmarked for the completion of all the projects, but the Permanent Secretary, Dr Jamila Shu’ara, who is the accounting officer for the Ministry of Aviation, is allegedly sitting on the funds.
Shu’ara is also being accused of redeploying all the directors who are monitoring the projects for the ministry.
According to the source, “the permanent secretary is also questioning the projects being built in Akure, Ibadan, Asaba, Enugu and Jos, saying that they were not priority projects. The money to complete these projects is there but they have refused to release it to contractors.
”It is the refusal to pay these contractors that is holding back the completion of the expansion project at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.”
But the Special Adviser to the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Ori Okojokwu, however, denied that Shu’ara is holding back the funds.
According to her, “that allegation is very unkind. It is not true. Although I am not the spokesman of the ministry but I am telling you that it is not true. Somebody is being mischievous somewhere. That is just the truth.”