MINISTER of State for Aviation Hadi Sirika has said that the runway of Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja is 95 per cent completed, promising that the April 19 date for the completion and reopening of the runway is sacrosanct.
This is just as he Sirika said that President Muhammadu Buhari has directed everyone to plan for the construction of the second runway in Abuja airport to forestall any eventuality.
Sirika who spoke in Abuja on a political programme on radio monitored by one of our sources had on Sunday hinted in Lagos that the airport runway had gone far beyond 85% when he was questioned.
Sirika said: “We are now about 95 per cent completion of the Abuja Airport runway. We are finishing the laying of asphalt today. We had about two days of rain, which disturbed the ongoing work. But we are working and we are going to get to the due date, which is on April 19, 2017, God willing. Other works like the lightening, markings among others have been going on simultaneously.
“There is a new technology, where glass glide is put in the process of constructing the runway to reinforce it, to give it extra strength and prevent cracks and that is what we have done at the Abuja airport runway. 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.
“I am very happy and I thank Nigerians for bearing with us and also thank President Muhammadu Buhari for believing in us that we can do it and he gave us the trust to do it.”
The runway being reconstructed at the cost of N5.8 billion by Julius Berger was closed on March 8, 2016.
The minister pleaded with those doing business in the Abuja airport over their loss.
“The responsibility is on us to ensure that all is well. You know that we cannot be 100 per cent perfect. But if you are 95 or 96 per cent, that can pass. We apologize to those at the Abuja airport. They must have lost revenue within the period of six weeks.
“However, some of them were creative enough to move to the Kaduna Airport. I have seen several people who have moved to Kaduna. Many may lose but many also gain. We will provide better service because once the airport is save, many more people will come to them to do business,” he said.