It was Uthman Danfodio that said, truth is an open wound. And there is no contradiction to this assertion, not even time can erode it. Federal government’s pronouncement not too long ago on the temporary closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, has brought up this immortal truth in full focus with the government’s assurance that the Airport will be reopened fully for normal activities after the six weeks closure.
The government has kept its promise as the rehabilitation of the Airport has now been fully completed and is set for re-opening and full usage by all airlines this week as promised by the minister of states for aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika. The minister who had given a detailed explanation to the public on why the airport had to be temporary closed down and flights diverted to the Kaduna Airport had explained that the action was aimed at ensuring passenger safety, security and comfort at all times.
The current government efforts and determination to protect and enhance the safety of passengers as well as security at the Airport has now been fully vindicated by the speedy action taken by The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to complete this job on time. This is enough evidence to convince everybody including the international airlines and their supporters about the seriousness of government on this sensitive issue.
This writer is made to understand that the Airports temporary closure signified the determination of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to do everything possible by giving priority attention towards repositioning and reconstructing the Abuja Airport for enhanced safety, passenger comfort and optimum functionality as well as security as explained by senator Sirika not too long ago in Abuja. The statement made by the minister should be appreciated in the sense that Abuja Airport is a window or door to Nigeria through which visitors and other foreign nationals could properly mirror us, as it is known fact that visitors usually judge us by how safe, secure and clean our airports are especially the Abuja airport which is serving the nation’s capital city.
This writer is of the view that the country will get the best value for the time and resources we have so far utilized on the Airport’s rehabilitation as directed by government. When I visited the Airport at the weekend, to see things for myself six weeks after the closure, I discovered that like the central tower, work on the run-way had been completed and will be re-opened for normal use as from this week according to competent sources. In fact the Airport is now a beauty to behold as tings have been put in their proper perspectives with the entire airport almost wearing a new look now. This is in line with the promise made by the Federal government that the rehabilitation will last for only six weeks.
Senator Sirika had revealed that it was necessary to work on the Abuja Airport because it was long overdue to take such a drastic action since the Airport had remained the way it was for over 35 years. Until the temporary closure of Abuja Airport, maintenance of its run-way and other important facilities had taken place only at night which could pose great risks to both passengers and the aircraft. The Abuja run-way had witnessed no major repair or the mandatory rehabilitation to which it should have been subjected to though it was constructed over 35 years ago. I am not surprised about the efficient handling of this assignment by the FAAN’s MD Engr. Saleh Dunoma due to his pedigree and competence which enabled him to earn several commendations and awards from within and outside the country.
FAAN and other important stakeholders in the aviation industry have really scored high this time around with the record breaking achievements of successfully carrying out the rehabilitation work on the Abuja Airport on schedule as directed by government through senator Hadi Sirika. From all indications therefore, the past few weeks had been very very hectic to FAAN officials and other government agencies connected to this project. They had a deadline to meet and this was achieved beautifully through the able leadership of their quiet but hard working, MD, Engr. Dunoma.
Engr. Dunoma and his team according to reliable sources had literally so to speak, turned the Abuja Airport as their home within the past few weeks simply to meet the deadline given to them and to prove to everybody especially the international airlines as well as their supporters that it was possible to achieve such a feat through grim determination and political will.
Engr. Dunoma who is the president of the Airports Council International had like his own minister continually emphasized that FAAN’s action is guided by the need to improve capacity, security and passenger comfort in line with acceptable international standard of operating Airports which have rules and regulations set by aviation authorities. FAAN’s action according to Engr. Dunoma, will provide for smooth operation and facilitation of passengers at all times. Engr. Dunoma’s team succeeded in carrying out this job despite the challenges and constraints often encountered in this type of assignment. But the MD’s humility, resourcefulness, and above all loyalty to his bosses and belief in almighty Allah’s decision led to the successes so far recorded.
One of my senior colleagues John Chuks yesterday jokingly observed that FAAN has actually achieved within two weeks what was supposed to have been done over 30 years ago. I completely agree with him after seeing what had been done on the Run-way and other facilities at the Airport, at the weekend.
–Biu sent in this piece from Kuje