No provisions for Abuja airport runway repairs in 2016, 2017 budgets – Saraki

By The Citizen

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki yesterday disclosed that no provision was made in either the 2016 or 2017 budgets for the rehabilitation of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja runway.

He expressed surprise that, 'one will be wondering how such kind of decisions are arrived at.'

Saraki, who made the disclosure while receiving the Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, in Abuja, lamented the abandonment of critical infrastructural projects after investing huge amount of money on them.

He noted that the non-completion of re-modeling projects of Minna airport has left the Federal Government with no option or backup to the diversion of flights to Kaduna to allow for the rehabilitation of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

'It makes a lot of sense to have an option. It is the lack of option that brings us to where we are that we cannot make a good choice,' he said.

He assured the Governor that provision would be made for the completion of the abandoned dualisation of  the Suleja-Minna road in this year’s appropriation.

Saraki urged the Federal Emergency Roads Management Agency (FERMA) to immediately commence emergency rehabilitation of the existing road to alleviate the sufferings of motorists and other users of the road.

On the completion of Baro Port, also located in the state, Saraki said it was regrettable that the project was abandoned after huge sums of money had been invested in it.

'We will definitely ensure that it is completed because of its potential to increase businesses,' he said.

Earlier, the Governor had urged the Senate President to intervene and ensure the urgent completion of abandoned projects at the Minna Airport with the aim of making it a back-up to Kaduna airport after the closure of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The equipment and materials required, he said, were already on ground to beat the March deadline, adding that with that arrangement, airlines would have an option to choose.

He also confirmed that the Kaduna Airport has no capacity to handle the expected high volume of traffic as a result of the flight diversion.

The runaway at the Minna Airport, according to him, is longer than that of Kaduna airport, and proposed that the two airports should be designated for the diversion to avoid any national embarrassment.

'If this matter is not handled properly it will cause us a serious national embarrassment.

The Governor further sought for the support of the Senate in the completion of the dualization of the Suleja-Minna road and Boro Port. - Authority.