MINISTER of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika yesterday gave a rundown of activities that cumulated in the commencement of operations at the Kaduna International Airport stating that government has put a lot in place to ensure that this temporal relocation works to the interest of Nigeria.
He made this known Wednesday while giving his speech at the official announcement on the commencement of flight operations from Kaduna International Airport as a result of the temporary closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja runway
The Minister who was visibly elated about the accomplishment also thanked President and Acting President the Kaduna State government as well as all who partnered the Ministry especially the flying public for the support given to them and for believing that it could handle the onerous task.
According to the minister, a lot have been put in place to ensure seamless facilitation and it involves a lot of Ministries and agencies.
He said,” You can see with me the Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of Police in charge of this activities for now. With him of course are men of the Nigerian Immigration Services, Civil Defence, Nigeria Custom Service, NDLEA, Fire Service, Port Health of Ministry of Health, Ministry of Power, Works and Housing among others. They have been very helpful and supportive.”
“The Abuja-Kaduna Road has been fixed to make it efficient and smooth. The airport itself, we have done the perimeter fencing and the outer road around the fence. We have provided new runway markings, new Instrument Landing System. “
“The Captain that flew the Ethiopian Airlines’ aircraft said that it was excellent working in good conditions. Terminal building is completed and everything is going very well. We want to use this opportunity to thank the media houses for their support and all those men and women that contributed to this.”
Speaking on the Abuja closure proper and the logistics that were put in to ensure smooth transit from Kaduna to the Federal Capital Territory(FCT), Sirika said the train services were already running and doing well and that they were helicopters for those who needed them.
“In the wisdom of Federal Ministry of Transportation, on behalf of the federal government and on behalf of the President and Commander-In-Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari, we gave busses and train as complimentary to take passengers to and from Kaduna. “
“That has been going on as we witnessed the activities and all the operations going on smoothly without hitches. We thank God Almighty, however, we are here for just six weeks. In view of this, my office, the Office of the Minister of State for Aviation has relocated to Kaduna for the period of six weeks. This is to ensure that it continues to be smooth operations and intended results are achieved.”
“You will find all the information there. You will notice as you go along the airport road to Rigasa train station and from Kaduna Airport to Abuja, you will see the heavy presence of security men. Those that you see and those you do not see at every two or two and half kilometers.”
“ There is also helicopter services. We also want to thank those who provide hospitality and car hire services for our passengers and crew and those providing helicopter services for the High Networth Individuals. The Abuja Airport closure as we said is going to be for six weeks and six weeks no more. Please bear with us for this six weeks period.”
He thanked all those that made it possible including the Presidency, the Kaduna State governor and the Nigerian travelling public, appreciating them for their understanding.
“I must use this opportunity to thank the President, the Commander-In-Chief President Muhammadu Buhari and of course the Acting President, Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo for giving us the support and for believing that we handle the task. We also want to thank the Governor of Kaduna State who has been very supportive of this project and they have given us all the necessary support and compliment that we need.”
“This is to thank the general public especially our travelling passengers into and out of Kaduna consequent on our closure of Abuja and to further reiterate that this closure indeed was to attend to some safety concerns that the runway has completely failed. We diverted operations to Kaduna and we did a tremendous amount of work to get Kaduna to be efficient enough to serve the purpose. “
He conceded that there were lapses but that the situation would be made better despite the fact that this present arrangement is temporal
“We also want to say to Nigerians that this thing is temporary, they should bear with us in this time of emergency situation. Of course, they may observe some lapses. It is not on purpose and not intentional. Once they find that out, we have a system in place where they can lodge their complaints and it will be attended to. We have been sending out adverts on print and electronic and social media. We have processes on how to process the passengers once they come. They can also visit our website www.abujaairportclosure.info.”