The Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, has declared that he will resign if the repair of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA) runway was not completed and reopened in six weeks as planned, Daily Sun reports.
The Federal Government had shut down the airport with effect from March 7 while Abuja-bound traffic was diverted to Kaduna International Airport. The promised date for the reopen is April 19, 2017.
He spoke on Monday alongside Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed who debunked some rumours carried by people about the postponement of the reopening.
The duo spoke at a special session of Aviation Round Table (ART), held in Ikeja, Lagos State, adding that it was not true the work has been extended.
“I heard about the rumour that the reopening of the Abuja airport will be extended by 18 weeks, that is not true. After six weeks the Abuja airport will be reopened.” He said
Mohammed said the maintenance of the Abuja airport runway had long been neglected by successive governments, a trend that made it imperative to shut it down completely if a proper repair work that would last had to be done.
He said about three out of the six weeks scheduled for the airport runway repair had already gone and that work had also progressed by about 50 percent.
Sirika said he could not take a decision affecting the lives of over 150 million Nigerians and choose to disappoint them at the end of the day. He said so much work had gone into the consultancy and procurement of materials prior to the commence of the repair in order to ensure the six weeks deadline was not extended.
Nobody has extended anything on the Abuja airport runway reopening deadline; our six weeks is six weeks.
I believe we took the right decision and I am very comfortable we will achieve the six weeks target. I will resign if we don’t meet the deadline,” he added.
He added that after completion, the runway will last for the next 10 years before it would spoil again. He explained that the choice of Kaduna Airport as an alternate airport to Abuja was based on the ease of logistics and security it would provide.