Aviation Minister, Fidelia Njeze
The Federal Government will this year build another domestic terminal at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
THISDAY learnt that a consultant from South Africa had completed survey for the new terminal and the model approved. Construction work on the project is expected to commence soon.
Government plans to build the new terminal and two others in Kano and Port Harcourt from the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) fund, which has hit about $120 million. But the snag, a source said, is that the process of accessing the fund is slow and difficult “because first, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) must get approval from the National Assembly and this will take time.”
Besides the slow process, the source also said that CBN might have purposely delayed it because it did not want to release the money to “out-going politicians who might divert the money.”
“You know that the Central Bank Governor is a very prudent man. The condition for accessing the money is much but I am sure that he will make the money available later this year when everything must have settled down and I am sure that the project will be started before the end of the year because everything is set for the project,” the source told THISDAY.
The existing terminal, which is grossly inadequate for the ever growing flight traffic was built initially as a temporary measure, “but when the international terminal was built it seemed to have taken attention from the terminal which was abandoned till recently when it became obvious that it is highly over stretched.”
The source also explained that the Abuja airport project and the remodelling of others in Kano and Port Harcourt were to be carried out as part of the Nigeria at 50 rehabilitation of the nation’s airports, and money was supposed to be sourced from the golden jubilee programme.
“But the idea of remodelling the terminals came late and was not carried out during the ‘Nigeria at 50’ rehabilitation exercise because the budget was already prepared before they were thought of. That was why government wanted to use the BASA fund. The projects are expected to be completed sometime next year,” the source also said.
The existing domestic terminal at the Abuja airport is really in a deplorable state and grossly inadequate.
Airlines squeeze their officials in the limited space available and this has prompted the building of smaller houses around the airport to serve as offices for these airlines.
Industry observer told THISDAY that the “almost lawless way people move in and out of the airport will not give security operatives chance to monitor the terminal and its environs effectively and this may give rise to security breach.”