MMIA's Bad State Worries Diplomatic Communities

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LAGOS, June 02, (THEWILL) - Diplomats from major foreign missions, international organizations and non-governmental organizations operating in Nigeria Wednesday said the bad state of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) could be a disincentive and deterrent to the flow of foreign direct investments (FDIs).

The diplomats at the City Hall venue expressed their profound misgivings at the state of MMIA at a forum organized to mark the 1100 days of the administration of Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) under a theme: "Harnessing Global Partnerships and Opportunities for Rapid Development and Economic Prosperity."

The envoys largely from the United Kingdom (UK), the United States (US), Russia, and major Asian high commissions to Nigeria were dismayed at the poor state of the airport, stating it could be a militating factor to the flow of foreign investors.

In his short observation at the forum, Deputy British High Commissioner, Mr. Robin Green asked what the government was doing about the horrible state of MMIA, stating that the road to the international airport "is in bad condition and disrepair and has been a major concern for international community."

Green thus sought to know what the government was doing about the bad road and inadequate facilities in the airport, adding that the state of MMIA could be a disincentive and deterrent to the flow of foreign direct investments.

The envoy said: "I have just discussed with my colleague from the US Public Affairs Section about the state of MMIA and wanted to know what the state government was doing even though the place is not within its control. The airport serves as a window to Lagos city."

In his reaction Fashola explained that the Federal Government had embarked on some palliative works in the airport and that the road would soon be fixed, acknowledging that the road would need more than just palliative measures, but also total rebuilding and reconstruction to create a better atmosphere for visitors and tourists who would be visiting the country.

The governor said the state "has completed the new design of the road and made it available to the Federal Government. What we need is total rebuild and reconstruction. But what we have there now is unacceptable. For the airport to provide better service, the government will need to provide it with additional terminal buildings to better serve passengers across the globe.

"The image that it gives not only to our state, but also our country is one that we find presently unacceptable. The condition of the terminal building itself and the road are matters which give us regular concern. The airport definitely needs a new terminal building to meet up with international standard.

"As for the road, I am aware the federal government has commenced palliative work, but it needs is not just the palliative work, but a total rebuilding and expansion. Our government has concluded a design for the road and in liaison with the federal ministry of works. We will execute the project expeditiously."

The governor also advocated a new international order and regime that would accommodate and recognise sub-national and municipal governments in a manner that such governments could act relate freely with the international community.

He said: "We need to ask whether those rules made in the interest of the human race can still be wholly applicable 62 years after the United Nations was established and now that challenges that were not contemplated then have arisen."