Adedayo Akinwale ín Abuja
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has assured Nigerians that the new Lagos airport terminal would be completed by April 2020.
The minister gave the assurance yesterday while appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation during budget defence, as the ministry proposed the sum of N41,878, 371, 737 for 2020 budget.
He noted that the budget would focus on sustaining the infrastructural renewal at the airports as well as the upgrade and provision of necessary air navigational equipment and that of weather forecast.
The minister explained further that special attention would also be given to safety and security infrastructure.
Sirika noted that the total capital appropriation for the ministry in 2019 was N35,334,058,175.5, out of which the sum of N7,330,178,427.45, representing 20.8 percent, has been released to the ministry so far
He said N2,627,119,597.14 has been paid out from the released 2019 Appropriation Bill, but explained that some Certificates of Completion of projects are being processed for payment.
While explaining the reason Lagos airport is notorious for stench and lack of hygiene, Sirika stressed that the airport was constructed in 1980 and that the facility was for the use of 200,000 people per annum, lamenting that the airport is presently receiving over eight million people in the same facility with no provision for expansion.
The minister added that it was for this reason that the federal government embarked on the construction of new terminal which he said is about to be completed.
Sirika said the project was delayed due to paucity of funds, which he said President Muhammadu Buhari has now approved, as he further alleged that some hangers belonging to some entrepreneurs are causing hindrance and delaying the completion of the new terminal building.
The minister said the issue of hygiene at the airport has been addressed, noting that it was a big improvement from what the present administration met in 2015, adding: “We will be able to deliver once those hangers are out of the way, we should be able to deliver a new Lagos airport by April 2020.
“Currently, we are discussing with Julius Berger on the old terminal. When we came in 2015, everywhere was leaking, there were open wires within the building especially the basement and there have been explosion twice before we took over. We treated most of those that are more of safety than toilets.”