April 20, 2017

Closure of Abuja airport, a tough challenge — LAI MOHAMMED

Closure of Abuja airport, a tough challenge — LAI MOHAMMED

Lai Mohammed

The timely completion of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, runway that paved the way for the re-opening of the airport,  after a six-week closure, has shown the ability of Buhari’s administration to rise to any occasion, irrespective of  the daunting nature of the challenge.

Lai Mohammed

In a statement issued in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, yesterday, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who stated this, described as a remarkable achievement the ability of the  government to complete the total reconstruction of the runway within the stipulated time, despite doomsday predictions.

He said the clock-work precision with which everything concerning the  closure of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and the temporary  relocation to the Kaduna Airport was handled by the relevant ministries and security agencies, was the clearest indication yet  that Nigeria could tackle any challenge.

Alhaji Mohammed noted that the rehabilitation of the Abuja-Kaduna road  by the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, the provision of  non-invasive but effective security along the highway by the security  agencies and the perfect handling, by the Ministry of Transportation,  of the massive logistics involved in ensuring that the Kaduna Airport  was able to handle such a large number of flights,  showed that  Nigerians have what it takes to make the country a proud member of the comity of nations.

‘’It is to the credit of the security agencies and the Federal Road  Safety Corps that passengers travelling along the ever-busy  Abuja-Kaduna highway were largely kept safe while the closure of the  Abuja airport lasted. There was no known security scare while  accidents on the road were kept at the barest minimum, despite the  increased vehicular traffic. Who can forget the timely departure and  arrival of the Abuja-Kaduna train that ferried thousands of passengers  back and forth during the Abuja airport closure?

‘’Indeed, the closure of the Abuja airport runway and the logistic  nightmare it triggered must rank among the most intimidating  challenges faced by this Administration. It’s ability to live up to  expectation by delivering the project even before the scheduled date  has further confirmed that Nigerians elected a responsive, responsible  and capable federal government in 2015,’’ he said.

The Minister reminded those who might want to trivialize the feat that  what could not be done, in the over 30 years that the Abuja airport  runway was left to deteriorate to the level of near failure, was  achieved in just six weeks by a determined Administration even under an  economic recession.

He also recalled that the Port Harcourt International Airport was  closed for almost two years, a shameful development, at a time the  country was witnessing a more favourable economic situation.

Alhaji Mohammed thanked Nigerians for enduring the inconveniences that  came with the relocation of Abuja flights to Kaduna, the Ethiopian  Airline that operated its scheduled Abuja flights to Kaduna when other  international carriers turned their back, and the Julius Berger  construction company that worked day and night to deliver the project  before schedule.