Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, AbujaMinister of state for Aviation, Senator Hadi Serika, yesterday foreclosed the possibility of yielding to pressure not to temporarily shut down the Nnamdi Azikiwe international airport Abuja to pay way for rehabilitation work on its runway.
The minister who met with members of the House of Representatives committee on Aviation to defend his ministry ‘s 2017 budget proposal also allayed the fears being nursed by travelers that the Abuja – Kaduna expressway is unsafe.
He stated that his ministry, in conjunction with key stakeholders like security personnel have put in place measure to ensure a hitch free trip for those that will use the Kaduna alternate airport.
According to him: “The process has commenced and it will culminate in the closure of the airport. Unfortunately, for the period 8th of March and to open 19th of April.
“This as I said is done in the interest of safety. Just before coming, I inaugurated a high level committee headed by AIG, membership of an Air vice Marshall, top officials of the civil defence, SSS, and other paramilitary services. They will be in charge of the security of the road between Kaduna and Abuja and from Kaduna to the airport.
“They will carry out the operation using the normal patrol style and there will also be the air patrol and other means of ensuring the safety and security of passengers and goods as they travel. The Kaduna state government also deserves commendation.
“They are constructing the road from the airport to Mando, and also from the airport to Rigachikum. They have already put streetlights, they have cleared the bush and they are even servicing the road. And they are also doing total rehabilitation of the Nnamdi Azikiwe road to the western bypass in Kaduna. We have met with stakeholders, including hoteliers and car hire owners, restaurants and other service providers in Kaduna. So Kaduna is ready to receive the expected traffic within this period.”
The inaugurated security committee to be chaired by the Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG Alkali Usman Baba, was given the task of providing security at the Abuja and Kaduna Airport including the road and rail transport.
It will also monitor traffic movements from Abuja to Kaduna airport, provide security to passengers and cargo between the airport, among other security issues as deemed necessary.
The Director Safety and Technical Policy in the Ministry would serve as the Vice Chairman, while members include Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Department of State Security Services (DSS), Nigeria Air Force (NAF) and the Nigerian Army.
Other members of the committee include Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Federal Airport Authority Aviation Security (AVSEC), Department of Air Transport Management and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC).