The federal government has announced that it’s constructing 10 new airports across the country to boost civil aviation. Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, made the disclosure yesterday when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Aviation for the 2021 budget defense by the ministry of Aviation and its agencies.
This is even as the Senate Committee on Aviation bemoaned the state of dilapidated facilities at Minna airport, Zuru and Ajaokuta airstrips. Sirika said both the executive arm of government and the National Assembly have done justice to the civil Aviation sector since 2015 when the current administration came on board through the development of a roadmap, which is being implemented.
The minister added that the Aviation sector was the fastest growing sector of the economy, hence the federal government’s decision to build new seven airports in Anambra, Benue, Ekiti, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Gombe, among other states. He also noted that Kebbi, Osubi and Dutse airports have been taken over by the federal government while the Gombe State government had also written the federal authorities, asking it to take over the Gombe Airport.
“Consequent upon that roadmap, we have seen aviation grow in 2018 to become the second fastest growing sector of the economy and by 2019, it became the fastest growing sector of the economy and increased its GDP contribution”.
“During your tenure from 2015 till now, we’ve seen a lot of growth in civil aviation, and the number of airports is increasing. So far, about seven airports have been added to the map, some of them completed, some of them under construction”. “There are airports coming up in Benue, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Lafia, Damaturu, Anambra and so forth.
All of these show that civil aviation is growing during this administration”. “So, we have about 10 new airports coming up, which is almost half the number of airports we used to have in Nigeria. So we are adding 50 per cent of the number of airports,” Sirika said.
Meanwhile, in an interview with journalists after the budget defense parley, the minister also hinted that the much-talked-about national carrier, Nigeria Air, was part of the Aviation sector roadmap, which will be delivered before 2023”. “We are on it. The transaction adviser has brought in the outline business case. It is being reviewed by ICRC. Soon after it finishes, it will go to FEC and it will be approved. We will not leave this government without having it in place,” Sirika said.
BODE GBADEBO AND EMAMEH