FG To Close Abuja Airport For Six Weeks For Rehabilitation Of Runway

The Minister of State for Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika, monday said the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) in Abuja would be closed between February and March next year to allow Julius Berger carry out repairs on the damaged runway.

Briefing journalists after an on-the-spot assessment of the runway, he said while the runway would still be put to use during the six months of rehabilitation, the airport would however be shut for six weeks between February and March, when the mid section of the runway would be reconstructed.

According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the reconstruction work through the emergency procurement procedure for work to commence because of the centrality and importance of Abuja to the general administration of the country.

He admitted that government cannot afford to close down Abuja airport for a long time, even though palliative repairs had been ongoing at the runway in the last three months.

The minister said: “From start to finish of the runway, it will take six months. However we will be using the runway almost throughout the period except for about six weeks when the runway will be closed. That is when we are going to do the mid-section of the runway.”

According to him, government had accepted the design done by the contractor, adding that the runway would last for more than 10 years on completion early next year.

On the six weeks closure of the airport to passenger traffic, he said Abuja bound passengers from any part of the world will use the Kaduna airport as alternative, explaining that robust arrangement had been finalised the with Kaduna State Government to convey the passengers to Abuja.

Sirika said: “It will cost government substantial amount of money but we thought in our wisdom that palliative approach is wrong because three years down, we will come back to do the same repairs therefore we decided to go for the bigger option which is to do structural repairs if the runway which will take about six months to complete.
The minister said the government was not unaware of the pains passengers are currently going through due to the non-availability of aviation fuel and the scarcity of foreign exchange which has also impacted on government finance.
While pleading for understanding, he said consultations were ongoing with oil marketers, the Ministry of Petroleum and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to resolve the crisis, adding: “Very soon, the country will be out of this, as we cannot be relying on Ghana for aviation fuel.”

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FG Will Rehabilitate Roads – Fashola

The Federal Government says passage of the 2016 Appropriation will help to fast track the rehabilitation of strategic roads across the geo-political zones of the country.


It added that once the budget was passed, the settlement of debts owed contractors for road projects across the country would commence in earnest.


The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, announced the intention of the government when he visited Kwara Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, in Ilorin on Monday evening.


Fashola, who had earlier passed through the Jebba-Ilorin road, decried the deplorable state of the road which resulted to unending traffic hold up that left many motorists stranded for days.


He noted that President Muhammadu Buhari had identified the Jebba – Ilorin road as one of the strategic roads that would be given urgent attention by his administration.


“It is a very strategic road which Mr President himself has identified as one of his strategic economic roads; and the identification is with a lot of merit. Even on our short journey here we saw cattle, we saw fuel, we saw yams, we saw grains, and we saw containers going to and fro.

“So, it tells anybody who cares to observe that this is a strategic economic artery for the movement of goods between the north and south of Nigeria.

“This is the road that farmers use to get their goods to the markets. It is the road that petroleum distributors use to get their cargo to this part of the country and so on.”


He commended the contractor for continuing work on some failed portions of the road, despite non-payment by the immediate past administration.


“When I assumed office, the entire budget for road works was N18 billion for the whole of Nigeria. And all of us are now seeing where the money went. So, it is understandable, that people like this contractor who were working to build roads were not paid.

“But all of that will change under this administration as soon as the new budget is passed.

“So, I am hopeful that the challenges and the discrepancies in the budget will be overcome by meeting of minds between parliament and the executive.


There are no sides in this matter. We are different shades of the same government. So, it is imperative that we quickly get these issues behind us and get a budget in place,” he added.


Fashola said that the federal government has also set up a committee to verify federal roads rehabilitated by state governments to ensure that the standard set were followed.


On housing, he said that the government was looking at formulating policies that would promote the use of locally produced materials for sustainable buildings to enhance job creation.


“We would use more locally made materials so that our people can get back to increased productivity, create jobs and then our job would have been done as a government of change,”  Fashola declared.


Responding, Gov. Abdulfatah Ahmed described Fashola’s appointment as an opportunity for him to bring his experience and achievements in Lagos to move the country forward.

“No doubt, what you did in Lagos have shown that we require people like you to move some of the most critical areas to drive Nigeria’s economy forward. We are all very clear that the issue of road and the issue of energy are very germane to our growth and development.

“So, somehow we have a lot of pressure on us but we are happy that you are coming at a very critical time to see how you can at least support some of the roads in the state, “ Ahmed said.


He added that the government had marked out lands in strategic areas of the state for the development of housing schemes and commercial zones.




Insurgency: FG Working On IDPs Rehabilitation – NEMA DG

Mr Muhammad Sani-Sidi, Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), says the Federal Government is putting in place programmes and policies to ensure the rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).


Sani-Sidi said this on Wednesday in Abuja at while fielding questions the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum.


According to him, resettlements plans and policies are under-way following the success of security agencies in combating the insurgency and reclaiming captured communities.


“There are a lot of programmes and policies that have been put in place to address the problem of infrastructural damage in the North-East.


“The Victim Support Fund was set up to raise funds to cater for the IDPs; a presidential committee for reconstruction and rehabilitation was also set up.

The Safe School Initiative was put in place to allow IDPs children to continue their education in camps.

The committees were also set up to come up with some quick ways on how to address these challenges and how to assist them to go back to the liberated communities and continue with their lives.’’


According to the director-general, many camps have been closed down following the voluntary return of IDPs to their communities.


He said that there were 26 IDPs camps in Borno while in Adamawa, the number had reduced from 11 to five camps.


He said that early this year, there was an impact assessment in the insurgency-ravaged states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, to evaluate the level of damage and the infrastructure to be rebuilt.


Sani-Sidi said that although terrorism was entirely a new thing to Nigeria, it had become a global phenomenon and a global challenge.


He, however, said that it was the responsibility of the government to cater for the needs of its displaced citizens and address their plight.


He said that as at November, the population of IDPs in Nigeria was about 2.1 million.