By: Wisdom Acka
Baring any unforseen hitches, construction of the second runway for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja will be completed before President Muhammadu Buhari handover on May 29.
This is as the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has tasked the contractor handling the “legacy project” to redouble its efforts and ensure it is delivered within the life of this administration.
Sen. Sirika said this when he was accompanied by his FCT counterpart, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello on a visit to the project site early this week.
Thanking the FCT Minister for allocating 12,000 hectares of land to his ministry for the project, Sen Sirika revealed that the entire project scope was far beyond the runway alone, but it was actually an aviation city – an Aerotropolis, containing all a modern city has, including hotels, shopping malls, schools, cinemas and hospitals.
The Aviation Minister further disclosed that the Aerotropolis was designated as a Free Trade Zone, and would “tremendously boost economic activities not just in the FCT but across the country”.
Stressing that facilities at the Aviation City would also include a cargo hub, Sirika added that it would also serve as hub for our national carrier, base for the aviation leasing company and the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau offices.
In his remarks, the FCT Minister pledged the total support of the FCT Administration to the project, pointing that the indigenous communities and people stood to benefit the most from the project as it would bring about huge economic activities and employment opportunities to the people.
Urging the contractor to work round the clock to ensure completion on schedule, Bello assured that matters of compensation would be handled by the FCTA through its robust Resettlement and Compensation Department with the requisite experience of over 40 years in such matters.
“We have a standard procedure for compensation and never in the history of the FCT has issues of compensation stopped a project”, he assured.
The FCT Minister, thereafter, called on the Chief of Jiwa to continue to provide the needed leadership to ensure that the project was successful because it was “a golden opportunity to be part and parcel of a legacy project that will transform the social, economic and political landscape of the FCT”.
Chief of Jiwa, Dr Musa Idris, who was part of the visit, pledged the cooperation of the indigenous community to the FCT Administration for the construction of the second runway and the Aviation City.
Dr. Idris also stated that enumeration has been carried out on the land acquired for the project, and urged payment of compensation to affected communities.
The second runway is of 4.2 kilometer stretch that would contain all modern associated facilities, such as CAT III ILS landing aid to enable aircrafts land with minimal visibility, a new control tower and fire station.