Sirika Commissions Maiduguri Airport Terminal Building 

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Hadi Sirika
By Kasim Sumaina in Maiduguri
The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, on Monday  commissioned the rehabilitated Maiduguri International Airport building, abandoned four years ago.
At the commissioning, Sirika stated that the Buhari led government, on assumption of office, embarked on 157 projects, and has so far completed 134 of them fully.
He revealed that the Maiduguri terminal building rehabilitation commenced in 2013 and was abandoned, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari directed that all abandoned and uncompleted projects be completed.
The terminal building project, he said, underscores the importance of Borno as a state and the North-East as a region because being ravaged by insecurity, “we put importance to this airport we have completed and other facilties that will ensure safe and secure operations out of this airport.”
He said: “So, I am saying that the aviation sector of the transportation ministry had commenced between 2015 and 2019 . Under President Buhari,  we commenced 157 projects.  Many of them we started and some of them,  we met.”
He added that about 13 of the remaining projects are below 50 per cent, noting that the remaining are above 50 per cent.
“I can assure you that soon after the next Minister comes on board, he will conclude the outstanding projects to make the 157 projects completed,” the minister said.
Speaking further, he noted that there was no scheduled flight into Maiduguri before the coming of President Buhari but, “as we speak, there are so many scheduled flight services into and out of Maiduguri and we will continue to improve on this airport so that we ensure its security and safety operations.
“This is just a continuation of all the projects that we have been going round the country to commission. Nothing will stop the projects half way because the government has continued and the president is elected.
“So, whoever is the next minister will continue with the projects that President Buhari has started and even those projects started by other people and abandoned will be continued as I have continued with this project,” Sirika assured.
In his remarks, the Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Elkanemi, while welcoming the minister to his palace, requested the federal government to install all the equipment that would assist in safe operations of the airport and also to commence Hajj.
He noted that it is possible to commence Hajj and also possible to continue the scheduled service even international.
“Those things that are absent, government will try the best it can to make them available for this operations.
“As I speak with you, the critical items needed to make this aropory secure and safe is before the government and receiving attention by government and I am sure it will decided and funded so and this airport can go.”
Elkanemi explained that, Borno is a kingdom that has being in existence over 1200 years without any interference. “So many things has happened to the people of Borno both good and bad but Borno was never defeated.
“So many things including the Fulani Invasion, the ravage and disturbances between 1892-1900,  the tussling riffles in 1980 and then the Boko Harram in 2009 till date.”
According to him, “Before the coming of the President Buhari, we know the situation we use to be in and the situation we are now in. Our airport was closed for commercial flights for over 2 years before the coming of the President, we were not having any good roads, the only good roads we had was from Maiduguri to Cameroon all other roads were besieged by Boko Harram
“The borders were very porous, Borno shares border between Niger, Chad and Cameroonian, the criminals were coming in any time they liked, they will kill people and go back.”
He added that at that time, Maiduguri was hosting about 2 million internally displaced persons comprising of mostly children and women
“But immediately the President came in, because of his care and concern for the people of Borno, the first thing he did was to to transfer the Military command and control from Abuja to Maiduguri.
“Most key position at the Federal Government occupied by Borno people, the current chief of staff, NEMA Director General, EFCC chairman are all  from Borno.”
Commending Sirika for the visit, he said: “In 2-3months time hajj operations will commence. I urge that the runway rehabilitation and other equipment at the airport should be prioritized, such that our people will not be moved to other states for airlift.
“I want to make it clear to everybody that this crisis was brought to Borno from somewhere, this people came to Borno in disguise, they requested to have western education, our people allowed them and they began to pass their ideologies to the youths and started creating havoc in this part of the country.”
Continuing, he revealed that the level of distraction the crisis has caused is very terrible and you cannot compare it to any of the states. “When the crisis started in one of our meeting during the Traditional Council, I told them that something has to be done otherwise it would escalate to other parts of the country, but by then people were not seeing it
“Almost everywhere there is one problem or the other, the problem of pipeline vandalization, kidnapping, arm robbery among others.”
He however said: “the permanent solution to all these crisis is for all of us to cooperate with the security agencies by providing security for the people and continue to pray to God to save us from this kind of situation.”