The Federal Airport Authority Of Nigeria (FAAN) has explained the fire scare which occurred on Saturday afternoon at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
Some passengers had panicked when the saw smoke in part of the airport terminal.
But FAAN said what the passengers saw was residue from the hydrant which was released by the automated fire detector and protection machine installed in the airport’s new terminal.
The Managing Director of FAAN, Mr Saleh Dunoma gave the explanations in Abuja after Channels Television visited the airport in response to a call from a worker in the airport.
Although the airport staff said he saw fire which scared some travellers in the afternoon, the FAAN boss maintained that there is nothing to be afraid of as what happened showed the efficacy of the newly installed fire detector and protection equipment at the airport.
FAAN’s General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, explained in a statement that the incident occurred in the equipment room of the new terminal at the airport at about 3 pm.
She explained that the building was designed with an in-built fire detection and protection system, which is activated when it senses high ambient temperatures and sprays fire extinguishing agent.
“The residue of powder sprayed by the system was seen in the cloud, there was no fire at all,” the statement read in part.
FAAN assured passengers and the general public that there was no cause for panic.
President Muhamadu Buhari has said that his government is gradually closing the infrastructural deficit bedevilling the nation.
The President made the assertion while inaugurating the new international terminal of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja on Thursday, December 20.
According to officials, the terminal is one of the biggest in West Africa and it has the capacity to process at least 15 million passengers yearly.
In a statement issued by a special aide to the President, Femi Adesina on Thursday, Buhari said that the government is deliberate in its policy to sustain the development in Nigeria.
Below is the statement in full.
“It gives me great pleasure to be here for the formal commissioning of the new Terminal at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. This event represents yet another significant milestone for International air travellers in and out of the Federal Capital Territory.
2. You will recall that on the 25th October, 2018, I commissioned Port Harcourt International Airport Terminal. During the event, the Honourable Minister of State (Aviation) stated that the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Terminal, Abuja would be completed and ready for commissioning before the end of the year. Today, that promise has been kept. I wish to commend the Honourable Minister and his team for a job well done.
3. With the commissioning of this Terminal, Nigeria is moving towards achieving and meeting global aviation standards in facilitation, passenger processing and service delivery in tandem with international best practices.
This Administration recognises aviation as a catalyst for economic growth and as such will continue to encourage and support the actualization of projects that will place Nigerian Airports amongst the best in the world.
4. This event today, reflects Government’s deliberate policy to sustain the development of Nigeria’s infrastructure. We are gradually closing the infrastructural deficit bedevilling our country.
5. I am happy to note the progress being made in both the airports and sea ports on the implementation of the Executive Order on the Ease of Doing Business. Government officials manning these gateways are to sustain the momentum and ensure travellers in and out of the country have the best of experience as a necessary complement to the ultra-modern terminal.
6. Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Terminal is the first airport terminal to be connected to the rail transport system in the Country and indeed in the region. This has provided passengers and other airport users with a choice in the mode of transport to and from the city centre. I recall taking a ride from the City Metro station to the Airport on the day the rail line was commissioned.
7. I wish to assure you therefore, that Government remains committed to developing Nigeria into Regional air transportation hub and thereby assuming its leadership in the aviation sub-sector in Africa.
8. Let me once again appreciate the efforts of the Federal Ministry of Transportation (Aviation), the Government of the Peoples Republic of China and the China Exim Bank for their financial support and the various roles they played leading to the successful completion of this project. Let me also commend the contractor Messrs CCECC for delivering this project on time.
9. It is therefore, with great pleasure that I commission the new International Terminal building of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Thank you and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has identified the concession of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport and three others, as the next big project, after the successful rehabilitation work on the runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Senator Sirika, disclosed this to Channels Television’s correspondent in Benue state, during the induction of mi-35m gunships by President Muhammadu Buhari, as the Ministry of Aviation partners the Nigerian Airforce on airport security, research and training programmes.
The minister urged Nigerians to trust the Federal Government in protecting their interest, as was the case with the Abuja Airport runway project. He also stressed that four airports; that of Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt and Kano, are not up for sale but concession.
Domestic flights have resumed operations into the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, following the re-opening of the runway to traffic.
Passengers aboard a domestic flight expressed delight at being able to fly directly into the capital city, and applauded the timely rehabilitation of the facility.
They, however, appealed to the Federal Government to urgently consider the construction of a second runway for the airport, in addition to regular maintenance of the newly rehabilitated one.
Speaking to Channels Television, the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, lauded the prompt decision of the government to rehabilitate the airport.
“We must thank the agencies: The Ministries of Transport, Aviation, Works, and other Nigerians who gave the support. The greatest thing is we thank God that we didn’t wait for a disaster to happen in Abuja before we took that decision,” he said.
The spokesman for the All Progressives Congress, Mr Bolaji Abdullahi, also said: “The last couple of weeks have been quite challenging for some of us who fly quite frequently, the logistics of having to go to Kaduna and all that; but I think it has been managed quite effectively”.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday commended the re-opening of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, 24 hours ahead of the deadline.
In a statement issued by his spokesman, the President lauded the efforts of the contractor, security agencies, Kaduna State Government, as well as the Ministries of Transport, Power, Works and Housing, on the successful completion of work on the runway of the airport.
He said that he looked forward to such display of inter-agency cooperation and efficiency in the operation of the entire Federal Government machinery.
President Buhari also thanked foreign airlines for their cooperation with the Nigerian Government during the period of the closure of the airport.
Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has expressed satisfaction with the ongoing rehabilitation of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, saying the exercise is going according to schedule.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, shortly after inspecting the runway of the airport, Professor Osinbajo again affirmed that the airport would be reopened on April 19, 2017
The Vice President was accompanied on the tour, by officials of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
The Managing Director of FAAN, Mr Saleh Dunoma, while explaining the design of the rehabilitation to the Vice President, noted that the work done so far, was already 80% complete.
The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport shut down its operations on March 18, 2017 for rehabilitation of its runway and the Kaduna International Airport has been serving as the alternative.
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.
Some members of the House of Representatives have raised safety concerns over operations at the Kaduna International Airport.
Speaking at a plenary session, a member said:
“The House notes and is disturbed that there are allegations that frailing installations and procedure at the Kaduna International Airport grossly falls short of international standard and poses great danger to employees, passengers and the general public.
“It further notes and is disturbed that some aviation marketers have been allegedly transferring Jet A1 product from bulk road tankers directly into fuel bowsers right on the tarmac at the Kaduna International Airport and discharging same into commercial aircrafts.”
The complaint is coming about three weeks after the airport kicked off operations as an alternative to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, which was shut down for repairs.
To this end, the House has directed its Committee on Aviation to ascertain the operational safety at the airport.
The committee is also expected to assess the extent of work done at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport and report back to the House in one week.
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), says the Kaduna International Airport now records at least 45 flights daily since the closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
The General Manager at the airport, Mrs Amina Salami, told Channels Television that the figure represents both domestic and international flights of scheduled and non-scheduled arrivals and departures into and from the airport.
The Abuja International Airport was shut down on March 8 for repair works to commence on its dilapidated runways.
While passenger confidence is slowly returning, the diversion of traffic to the Kaduna Airport, has posed some logistic challenges; to which passengers are still trying to adapt.
Some of them complained that they have to make cash payments for tickets as the ATM and POS systems are yet to be made available.
Addressing some of the complaints, Mrs Salama described the situation as a work in progress, as some banks have already brought in Automated Teller Machines which would soon be installed for use.
A statement issued on Friday by the spokesman for NEMA, Sani Datti, explained that the helicopter would be used for medical patrol, while the MICU ambulances with the Rapid Intervention Vehicles are stationed along Jere and Katari Towns, Kaduna-Abuja road and Kaduna International Airport.
“The MICU ambulances are used to administer first aid treatment and stabilisation for trauma victims on their way to the hospital, as it serves as a mobile hospital with the capacity to carry one critical and one less critical victim.
“The Rapid Intervention Vehicles are used for search and rescue, fight fire rapidly and extrication of victims trapped in accident vehicles or collapsed structures,” he said.
NEMA asked the public to contact it through its North West Zonal office at number 15 Wurno, Road Unguwan Sarki, Kaduna.
The agency said it can also be reached through its emergency call number: 0800CALLNEMA (080022556362) or the National Emergency Number 112, stressing that all calls are toll free.