FG Says Abuja Airport 57% Complete

planeThe Federal Government has again reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring the re-opening of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on April 19, 2017.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said this on Thursday during an interview with reporters in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

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runway under construction

He made the assertion after inspecting the progress of work at the facility, alongside the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed.

Mr Sirika said the rehabilitation is 57 per cent complete, reassuring air travellers that the airport will be re-opened with a new runway and a new terminal building on the scheduled date.

runway under construction
runway under construction

The assertion follows the disapproval of the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation over the pace of work at the airport.

The Chairperson of the Committee, Honourable Nkiru Onyejeocha, warned the contractors to keep to the stated date of completion, noting that the Committee will not tolerate request for extension of time.

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Speaking earlier at a meeting in Lagos State, Mr Sirika said he will resign if the airport is not opened by April 19.

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He noted that the level of work on the Abuja runway in the past three weeks shows that the re-opening will be on schedule.

Abuja Airport: House Cmtte’ Frowns On Pace Of Work

Abuja Airport Closure: Amaechi, Sirika Appear Before SenateThe House of Representatives Committee on Aviation has expressed worry over the pace of work ahead of the completion date for ongoing rehabilitation work at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.

Speaking to reporters on Monday shortly after inspecting the runway of the airport, Chairman of the Committee, Honourable Nkiru Onyejeocha, criticised the level of work at the airport.

She warned the contractors to keep to the original completion date of April 19, 2017, noting that the Committee would not tolerate request for extension of time.

In another development, the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, was confident that the completion date is achievable.

Stating the level of his confidence, Mr Sirika said he would resign if the airport is not opened by April 19, 2017.

He said the level of work on the Abuja runway in the past three weeks shows that the re-opening would be on schedule.

Nigeria To Establish National Carrier In 2017 – Sirika

Aviation, Hadi Sirika, Nigeria, National CarrierThe Federal Government has announced that it will ensure the establishment of a national carrier for Nigeria before the end of 2017.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, made the disclosure at a meeting with the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation.

He led some officials of the Ministry of Aviation to defend the ministry’s 2017 budget at the session with the lawmakers on Thursday at the National Assembly in Abuja.

Senator Sirika also highlighted some other projects that the ministry would focus on in 2017.

The Chairman of the committee, Representative Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, set the tone of the meeting as the lawmakers began by looking at how well the ministry implemented its 2016 budget.

While scrutinising the 2017 budget proposal of the ministry, some members of the committee expressed concern about the effect of the exchange rate on some of the proposed projects.

The lawmakers had some queries for the ministry and gave the officials two days to submit the outstanding documents.

Lawmakers Probe Aviation Sector

house-of-representiatives-committee-on-aviationMembers of the House of Representatives on Tuesday held a public hearing on the challenges facing Nigeria’s aviation sector.

Officials of the government and stakeholders in the aviation sector were at the hearing.

Issues that had been whipped up by a plan to concession four international airports’ terminals were discussed.

The Federal Government says the planned concession of the four airports’ terminals is aimed at repositioning the aviation sector, generating more revenue and enhancing service delivery.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, gave the government’s position while addressing the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation on the need to rescue the airline industry from collapse.

He says the present economic situation has led to the downturn in the aviation sector.

One of the ways the government hopes to address some of the challenges in the sector is to focus on some airports, he told the lawmakers.

Representatives of airport staff unions, led by the National President, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association, Benjamin Okewu, however, opposed the proposed concession.

Mr Okewu expressed fears that the airports the government was planning to concession were the viable ones.

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Officials of the government and stakeholders at the hearing

The public hearing followed a motion passed by the House on the need to rescue the airline industry from imminent collapse.

The Chairman of the House Committee, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, outlined some of the challenges that are of concern to the House to include the suspension of operations by local  airlines, increasing termination of operations by international airlines and the licencing requirements and capacity of local airlines.

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yussuff Lasun, believes the sector is too economically viable to be ignored.

“This sector also supports 159,000 jobs in Nigeria,” he stressed.

Channels Television’s correspondent, Lanre Lasisi reports that the debate will continue over the next few days.

House lauds Amaechi’s security policies in Rivers state

The House of Representatives Committee on Down Stream Sector has commended the Rivers state governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi for promoting the security of oil firms, lives and property in the state.

Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Downstream Sector, Hon. Dakuku Peterside made this commendation when he led a delegation of the committee on a courtesy visit to Government House in Port Harcourt.

Hon Peterside acknowledged that companies in rivers state have testified to the resilience by the Amaechi administration to restore and maintain peace in the state.

However, he expressed dismay over the continued vandalization of pipelines and said the committee is taking concrete steps to eradicate the menace as well as ensure that the petroleum downstream sector achieve its desired objective to improve the nation’s economy.

Hon Peterside, who was accompanied by members of the committee, told Governor Amaechi that “one of the problems the committee has identified is the vandalization of pipelines which is the reason the refinery has shut down for three months which has greatly affected the economy of the nation”.

Amaechi, who lauded the committee for the visit, urged them to seek ways of addressing the problem of bunkering on the nation’s waterways.

He used the occasion to call for the prosecution of all those involved in the oil subsidy probe, noting that “subsidy must be removed to enable leaders work within the provisions of the nation’s budget”.

He further said that “if the nation’s funds are properly managed, there would be economic growth which in turn will create employment opportunities and eliminate the tendency of pipeline vandalism”.

The committee was in the state as part of its oversight function on some key sectors of the petroleum downstream economy, including the responsibility of monitoring the implementation of the annual budget.

Meanwhile, Governor Amaechi has urged the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation to prevail on the federal government to speedily complete the ongoing reconstruction work at the Port Harcourt International Airport.

The governor made the call Tuesday when members of the committee visited him in Government House, Port Harcourt.

He said “we congratulate the Ministry of Aviation for the innovation of repairing the airport; we pray that it should be completed. The Rivers state government will be glad to work with you for the success of your oversight function,”

Chairperson of the committee, Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha said the committee was in the state to inspect some capital projects especially the Port Harcourt International Airport and commended the governor for his laudable achievements.