Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah
Patrick Ugeh in Abuja
Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, COREN, has threatened to sanction the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, for the level of maintenance at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, saying just one civil engineer was grossly inadequate to do the job.
Leader of a COREN team that paid an unscheduled visit to the airport to inspect its facilities, Alhassan Aliyu, who made their position known at the end of the visit, warned that unless the situation was rectified quickly, the airport authorities might be sanctioned.
Assistant General Manager, Civil Engineering, of FAAN, Olawale Osituyo, who took the team round, disclosed that they were overwhelmed following the disengagement of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, which formerly did the maintenance.
He however explained that the multinational construction firm’s exit was an opportunity to look inwards because it deliberately used construction materials in building the airport that ensured that the country had to import all spare parts from Germany.
Besides, he said, Julius Berger didn’t have all the needed facilities to maintain the airport and so it had to out-source some of the work.
Osituyo said with the exit of the former contractors, the indigenous technical staff of FAAN supervised by him was now able to source for parts locally and perform some of the tasks that Julius Berger was out-sourcing.
“Even when Julius Berger were here,” Osituyo told the COREN delegation, “they didn’t do everything they were supposed to do; there was nothing like civil works. For instance, if there was a leak, they didn’t do it; we were the ones that did it. It was the same thing if there was an electrical fault or there was need for painting.”
He however disclosed that plans were at an advanced stage to recruit a new indigenous contractor to take over the maintenance of the airport, pointing out that while his understaffed team was managing to maintain the airport, whenever there was a major problem, engineers came in from Lagos to assist.
Although the FAAN official showed the team the face-lift taking place in some of the facilities like toilets and the creation of a new paved by-pass to ease traffic congestion in the airport, he said the sanitary conditions in the domestic and international wings of the airport were different because of the heavy traffic experienced at the local wing.
He also disclosed that the three car parks at the airport would soon be automated in such a way that should a car owner fail to use the car park assigned to him and moves on to another, he would pay an extra fee as a means of engendering sanity in traffic management.
The leader of the COREN team, Aliyu, and his deputy, Mayas Adoyi, Assistant Director, Engineering, however expressed satisfaction that the right calibre of technical staff, if few, were being used for the maintenance of the airport.