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Aviation Minister wants FG to take over states’ airports

By Kenneth Ehigiator

The Federal Government may have turned down the proposal put forward by Aviation Minister, Mr. Babatunde Omotoba, for it to take over airports being built by some states in the country, as the move conflicts with the FG’s agenda to transform four major airports to international standards.

The proposal, it was learnt, was submitted to the Vice- President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, shortly after President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua travelled to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment.

The Aviation Minister could not be reached for confirmation or denial of the story, yesterday, as telepho-ne calls put to his mobile phone were unanswered.

A source told Vanguard yesterday that the proposal was radically different from the agenda set before the aviation ministry to turn to internationally acceptable standards the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano and Port Harcourt Internatio-nal Airport, through an efficient concession programme.

Affected airports

According to the source, the Aviation Minister, instead of adhering to this agenda, put forward a proposal, seeking presiden-tial approval for the Federal Government to take over Akwa Ibom International Airport, Asaba International Airport and Ekiti Airport, amongst others and defray the cost of building the airports to the various state governments.

It was learnt that because the minister already knew that the President would reject the proposal, he waited for him to travel out of the country to pass it over to the Vice-President for approval.

Aviation Ministry sources who preferred anonymity, said Vice-President Jonathan refused to give his approval, preferring instead to wait for the President to return and look into the proposal.


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