Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on Friday to inspect ongoing works at the airport’s runway and told journalists he was optimistic the airport would be re-opened as scheduled.
Repair work on its runway necessitated the shutting down of the Airport for 6 weeks beginning from March 8.
Osinbajo who was guided round the facility by the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Saleh Dunoma, inspected the runway and taxiways of the airport, its arrival and departure terminal buildings, as well as the fire station.
Chatting with journalists after the tour, the Vice President expressed satisfaction with the rate of work, saying he was optimistic that the airport will reopen at the scheduled date as the repair works appeared 80 percent completed.
He said: “I have looked round. What I have seen, and from the information from the contractors, from the consultants, looks as if things are going very well”, he told journalists after the inspection.
“We were told that we are now nearing 80 per cent and we are clearly on schedule.
“We expect to see that this will be completed without any delay whatsoever. We have assurances from the contractors and consultants that we are clearly on schedule.”
The Abuja airport is scheduled to be reopened on April 19.
“A lot of work has been done and I heard the contractors were doing shifts for 24 hours. They have taken the job very seriously. We expect that the job will be completed on the 19th as promised,” Osinbajo added.
Abuja-bound flights had been diverted to the Kaduna International Airport and government has provided shuttle buses as well as free train rides to convey people from the Kaduna Airport to Abuja and vice versa.
Also the Abuja-Kaduna expressway has also been upgraded to make for free flow of traffic, while security along the route has also been beefed up.
Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika had explained that the closure of the Abuja airport was to allow for a total rehabilitation of the facility’s runway and taxiways which he said had completely failed.
Workers of Julius Berger Plc, the construction firm handling the runway repairs were seen on site during the inspection of the facility by the vice president.
However, neither the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, nor Sirika were present.