By Chinedu Eze
The federal government has abandoned the transit facility, which was aimed at hosting transit passengers connecting flights to West and Central African countries on arrival at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport.
The transit facility was one of the requirements for the Lagos airport, which is the busiest in the country, to become a hub, but the project was abandoned with the exit of the former Minister of Aviation, Senator Stella Oduah who started the project.
The government intended to build the transit hotel, which was to be situated on the third floor of the terminal so that transit passengers travelling to long haul destinations from the West Coast through Nigeria, could rest before boarding their flight or those returning to their final destinations could rest before connecting flight to their home countries.
Every major airport that operates as hub has passenger transit facilities. That is the advantage airports in Accra and Dakar have over the Lagos airport.
During the foundation laying ceremony of the hotel, Oduah had said the government would earn more revenue from the initiative, while it would make Nigerian airports to favourably compete with its counterparts in the world.
She had lamented that most passengers with connecting flight had to either sit on the floor at the airport or drive outside the terminal to rest before the arrival of their flights.
In late 2015, during the maiden tour of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi (Minister of Transportation) and Sen. Hadi Sirika (then Minister of State for Aviation), had promised to continue with the project, agreeing that it would improve the revenue generation for the government.
But, seven years after the commencement of the construction and four years after the tour of the facility by this government, the project has remained abandoned.
THISDAY learnt that some workers at the airport now use the abandoned facility as their rest place. Further investigation indicated that the construction, which was at the demarcation and fitting stages since 2014 when Oduah was removed, still remained same till date.
A source who is a staff of one of the agencies at the airport said the project was very important for the profile of the airport and it would also be a source of revenue to the country when completed.
“The fact remains that the project has been abandoned by the government. If you can remember, the project started in 2012 uptill 2014 when Stella was removed, but at that stage, we thought succeeding ministers will continue, but we are actually wrong,” the source said.