Airport without 24-hour water supply does not deserve international status–Lawmakers

*L- R: The director general, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Muhtar Usman, managing director, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, chairperson, House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Ms. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, chairman Senate Committee on Aviation, Mr. Adamu Aliero and managing director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr. Saleh Dunoma, during inspection tour of facilities at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos by the joint aviation committee of the national assembly

The national assembly committee on aviation embarked on a tour of Enugu, Port Harcourt and Lagos airports after which the chairman, senate committee on aviation, Mr. Adamu Aliero and his counterpart in the House of Representatives, Ms. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha spoke on their observations during the tour. Excerpts.

Parlous state of Enugu International Airport

The tour started from Enugu Airport down to Port Harcourt and now we are at the Lagos Airport. We made a number of observations beginning from Enugu Airport. At Enugu Airport, the runway is not smooth. We observed that there are potholes and it is not good for aircraft to land. There are a number of airlines going there; we have Aero Contractors, Arik Air and international airlines like Ethiopian Airlines. One of the airlines has withdrawn its operations to that airport. The approach light is not there which means that aircraft cannot land in the night despite the fact that it has landing lights. There is no 24-hour supply of water and that is not befitting for an international airport. You cannot call that airport ‘international’ if it does not have running water.

Concerning the abandoned contract at the airport, irrespective of whoever is the contractor, we want public money spent judiciously and prudently. We don’t care whoever the contractor is. Once you are given a job, we want that job done according to specification so that the tax payers’ money will not be wasted.

Poor state of Port Harcourt International Airport

 At the Port Harcourt Airport, we observed that the terminal building under construction has been abandoned for over two years. We learnt that the vice president gave them a target time to complete the job. When we get back we are going to call the minister and the contractor to brief us. We will be calling for sanctions. Port Harcourt deserves a befitting airport; it is in the oil city of Nigeria where a number of oil companies operate. It is the gateway to the south-south. We are going to work with the ministry of aviation and ensure that all the outstanding contracts are executed on time. As far as the terminal built by the Chinese is concerned, work is going on. We are satisfied with what we have seen; the only thing is that the speed of work is a little bit slow and we urged them to speed up and finish on time.

Slow pace of work at terminal building constructed by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation at MMIA

Here in Lagos, we conducted oversight particularly on the runway; the terminal constructed by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport) is built to standard and it is going to be one of the best in Nigeria. We are satisfied with what we have seen. The only thing is that there is a delay on the completion date and we hope that by next year they will deliver the project. Other projects inspected, the power house, there is a problem there. But we will work together with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and make sure we give them all the support it requires to make it functional. Otherwise, when there is a blackout it will be a disaster at the airport.

The BASL-FAAN controversy about tenure of concession of MMA2 terminal

We have come to the terminal built and operated by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Ltd (BASL); there is a lingering crisis between FAAN and BASL. Without any prejudice to whatever case they have in court we will try to see if we can resolve the crisis in a legislative manner. Both parties have to come down.

If we are going to wade into any issue, we have to look at the documents. They (BASL) said they have one agreement that signed the concession for 12 years and another one for 36 years. Based on that, we asked them to supply us with those documents.

Concession of four international airports and the issue of transparency

On airport concession, we would not want to put the cart before the horse. Let the transactional adviser come up with the advice it has for the ministry (of aviation) before we comment. If the concession is going to be done in a very transparent and credible manner we will support it. But a concession that will be done in a shoddy way, giving our national assets to your cronies, definitely will not be supported by any legislator and we will do our very best to ensure that the right thing is done.











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