Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) wednesday in Abuja approved over N20 billion for the construction of the extension of Murtala Muhammed International Airport runway in Lagos as well as other road projects.
While the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, said the runway extension would cost N2.2 billion, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, said construction of roads in Abaji Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) linking the territory to Lokoja would cost N6.7 billion, adding that further revised costs to aid completion of abandoned projects would cost N11 billion.
Briefing journalists at the end of the FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari in the State House, Sirika said the approval of N2.2 billion would serve as a revised estimated total cost for the runway project.
He said the runway extension and rehabilitation was essential for Lagos airport, because it would improve the safety of the airport.
“Today in council, Aviation Ministry presented a memo for a revised estimated total cost for the extension and asphalt overlay of the Murtala Mohammed Airport runway. The sum involved is N2, 272, 838, 724.84 and it has completion of 12 months.
“This central taxiway bravo is very critical to the operations of Lagos. It will improve the efficiency and safety of that particular airport. It has been abandoned for the last 16 years or thereabout and in our own efforts to ensure that all projects are completed for the benefit of the country, its future and its fortune.
In the wisdom of the council chaired by the president, we approved that project and God willing that project will be delivered by this time next year,” he said.
In his own briefing, Fashola said: “Today, what we had were two memoranda for revision of project costs and all of this is in aid of completion of the projects involved.
“The first project is the Koton-Karfe-Lokoja section of Abuja-Abaji-Lokoja highway. That cost was revised upwards by N3.076 billion. The reason was that about two years ago, there was a very bad accident on the Gudu-Hada bridge that damaged the bridge – a truck caught fire. So, the bridge has to be reconstructed. It was initially just to be repaired in the main contract. So, we have to construct it as an emergency work then. Now, the contractor has filed the claims for it.
“That’s part of it, then to provide additional drains into Lokoja town and also to repair some of the sections that have failed because that road was awarded since 2006 so we are just trying to complete it.
“The second second road is the Cham-Numan section of the Gombe-Yola highway. The revision of the cost is by N7.607 billion. This is to cover the cost of replacing about 11kilometres of what we call black cotton soil. This is very bad soil on the side near Savannah. That soil always cakes when it is dry season; it gets marshy when it is wet season because it’s clay soil.
“So, the contractor has to remove all of that soil – over 11 kilometres and replace it with better soil and then build some drainages to deal with drainage challenges in that area. Council approved these two revisions.”