Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has explained that the federal government chose the Kaduna airport as an alternative for the Abuja International airport which has been shut down in order for repair works because of ease of logistics and security.
Sirika was speaking on Monday at a stakeholders’ forum organized by the Aviation Round Table, ART, in Ikeja, Lagos State.
The event also had in attendance the Minister for Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.
Sirika said that although the Minna Airport was closer to Abuja, Kaduna provided better logistics and security.
“Minna is closer to Abuja, but Kaduna has a straight road where Minna doesn’t,” he said, adding that the Kaduna had more facilities and hotels to cater for the envisaged inflow of passengers.
“It was the capital of Northern Nigeria and it hosted the world cup. And that was why we opted for Kaduna instead of Minna, Jos or Kano airports,” the minister noted.
Also speaking, Mohammed, denied the report that the work currently going on at the Abuja airport will last for another 18 weeks, describing the reports as false.
According to him, the contractors handling the project had promised to deliver by April 19, 2017.
“I heard about the rumour that the reopening of the Abuja airport will be extended by 18 weeks; that is not true. After six weeks the Abuja airport will be reopened,” he said.
He noted that maintenance works on the airport had been neglected by successive governments, which is the reason the entire facility was shut down completely so that proper repair work that would last would be carried out.
Mohammed added that presently, work at the airport runway has progressed by about 50 percent.
Sirika corroborated this position, adding that he will resign if the deadline is not met.
He said: “Nobody has extended anything on the Abuja airport runway reopening deadline; our six weeks is six weeks.
“I believe we took the right decision and I am very comfortable we will achieve the six weeks target. I will resign if we don’t meet the deadline.”
He said that the runway when completed would last for the next 10 years before maintenance works would be required on it.