The federal government yesterday rated the level of work at the runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja at 57.5 per cent, saying the work is ahead of schedule.
The minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, revealed this when the minister of state for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, briefed journalists on the level of work done after three weeks.
Speaking at the airport, Mohammed said:
We believe it is befitting that we bring you here again since we are three weeks gone from the six weeks we promised to see the extent of the work that has been done. This is to reiterate that the six weeks we promised the world is still valid and we don’t intend to give any excuses
The minister of state for Aviation, Sirika, added that there was no cause to panic as the level of work was going as scheduled and everything needed for the completion of the work is ready.
Without going deep into the reasons why the airport had to be closed, basically because of safety, the runway had completely failed at several sections, making it impossible to take the option of repairs at night and operating by day.
Here we are; we choose the decision in the interest of safety and we commenced. Work is going on smoothly and everything is in order.
From the programme of work, we were supposed to import all necessary materials that need to be imported and those that are local be sourced at the work site.
The contractor has mobilized fully and we have gone now about 57.5 per cent of the total work which is good and which shows that we are on time and that we are doing what we are supposed to do to ensure that the runway is opened come 19th of April.
I am being asked what is imported for this purpose. There is a new technology where glass grid is put in the process of constructing the runway to re-enforce it, to give it extra strength and prevent cracks.
This is the first time any Nigerian runway is being treated with such material and that material is a 50 tonner.
We had to fly it in to Nigeria to ensure that it comes in time for this job and you have seen samples of it.
The runway work is going according to plan and you could also see that we are working simultaneously.
Whilst the surface work is being finished, the installation of lightings are going on at the same time. Channels are being cut for the laying of wires and also installing the lights at the same time.
So, we are on course and this runway will be opened on April 19
The minister also stated that the Abuja airport will be wearing a new look when the runway is finally reopened, as the lounge will have newly fitted air conditioners, even as there will be provisions for the old, disabled persons, just as the entire building will show improvement.
The terminal building will wear a new look. We are doing complete rehabilitation of Wing D at the airport. We will put escalators and lifts for departure at that terminal.
“Also, we are opening up a lounge for the disabled, challenged and elderly. This is in response to our thoughts and the feedback we get, including the feedback from Omojuwa who said he hopes it will be opened with lift for the elderly and the challenged.
It has been part of what we planned. So, we are speaking in the same language with users of our service