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FG Ready To Upgrade MMIA - Sambo; Commissions Independence Tower

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LAGOS, Sept 26, (THEWILL) – The Federal Government today said it had concluded plans to upgrade and rebuild Murtala International Airport to meet up with international standard.

Vice President Nnamdi Sambo disclosed this at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos while commissioning the Independence Tower erected in honour of the founding fathers of an independent Nigeria.

Sambo also added that the federal government had concluded plans to construct the railway track that would link Lagos to Ibadan as well as the provision of a deep sea port in Lagos.

He said the federal government "is doing everything to ensure that the conditions of the ports are improved as well as the provision of all infrastructure needed in Lagos and in Nigeria in general."

According to him, "we have concluded plans to commence the construction of the railway track that would link Lagos to Ibadan as well as the provision of a deep sea port in Lagos. We are also planning to expand the Murtala Muhammed International Airport to what is obtainable in other parts of the world."

On the properties generating contention between Lagos and Federal Governments, the Vice President said, "some of the complaints you have made today happened before this administration came into power" and implored them to write formally to him stating each of the complaints.

He added that the administration "is a civil, just and fair one and we have sworn with the bible and the Koran to be fair and do justice in all our action."

He said he had taken note of their complaints and promised to "take relevant and adequate steps to ensure that Lagos people have their fair shares of its properties from the Federal government.

"From the demonstrations we see in Lagos and the commitment of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, there is hope for Nigeria. It showed that the youths are prepared to give responsible leadership to the country.

"Although we are not yet there, I want to assure all Nigerians that we shall make all the necessary efforts to put Nigeria back on the path of honour as laid by our great leaders," the Vice President said.

He paid glowing tributes to such founding fathers as Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello and Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa as well as others for their great contributions and sacrifices to deliver an Independent Nigeria to succeeding generations.

"I am greatly delighted to stand on this great historic spot where the Union Jack was lowered 50 years ago and the Nigerian Green White Green Flag of Independence was first hoisted," Sambo said.

He thanked Governor Fashola for the role he played in seeing to the completion of the project "in record time. The tower was actually constructed in 26 days. This is a demonstration of the harmonious inter-governmental relationship existing between the State and the Federal Government."

At the commissioning were Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN); Deputy Governor Adebisi Sarah Sosan; Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwanu Akiolu; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed; Minister for Finance, Mr. Olusegun Aganga; and former Minister of Works and Housing, Chief Femi Okunnu (SAN) among others.

In his welcome address, Fashola expressed confidence in the future of Nigeria pointing out that at 50, the country was now in a better position to take its proper place in the comity of nations.

He said the commissioning of the Independence Tower in Lagos which, according to him, signals the beginning of the celebration of the country’s 50th Independence Anniversary, was only fit and proper because the history of Independent Nigeria started in Lagos.

Fashola said: "We are gathered here to begin our celebration of 50 years of Nigeria’s Independence. It is only fit and proper that it starts from here because the Union Jack was lowered here 50 years ago to declare Nigeria’s freedom.

"We are being united with history today because what we are doing today is to commemorate the ceremonies that ushered in our freedom. This monument (Independence Tower) contains those who made us free. It is true that they worked very hard to hand over to us a free and fair country," he said.

Also speaking at the event, Akiolu had raised the issue of land and other properties belonging to Lagos State but which are yet to be released to it by the Federal Government. Such lands and properties include, the Obalende Central Mosque in Dodan Barracks, the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos International Trade Fair Complex and the Federal Secretariat among others.

Oba Akiolu urged Sambo to impress it on Jonathan to address the issue which, according to him, has been very disturbing to the people of Lagos State and that the people had chosen the part of peace believing that justice would prevail.