The federal government has declared a state of emergency on the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
Minister of aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika disclosed this at the budget defence with the House of Representatives committee on aviation.
He promised to temporarily relocate his office to Enugu, so as to ensure that the airport is fixed before April 2020.
The minister promised to directly supervise the rehabilitation of the airport to make sure repair works were done on it.
He also announced that the new terminal building for the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos and the Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano, will be ready before the end of April, 2020.
Sirika explained that with the approval of N10 billion for the Enugu Airport by the President, the contractors are expected to mobilise to site as soon as possible, adding that the President has already directed all agencies associated with the smooth work on the airport to work together to ensure it was delivered on time.
The minister disclosed that the rehabilitation work on the Enugu airport will be done in such a way that the airport will be the best in the country, adding that all houses located close to the airport may have to give way for increased safety.
He disclosed that the Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has given assurance that he will provide support for the rehabilitation of the airport and asked the lawmaker to always visit the airport to access progress of work.
On the state of hygiene in the nation’s airports, the minister explained that out of the 22 federal airports in the country, 21 of them were clean and hygienic, adding that the only place of concern was the Lagos airport.
He explained that when the Lagos airport was established, it was built to accommodate 200,000 passengers per annum, stressing that today, the airport accommodate a traffic of about 8 million annually.
He said that the large volume of traffic makes it impossible for the airport to be clean, stressing that efforts were being made to complete the new terminal building in Lagos to ease the traffic on the old building.
Senator Sirika said further that the delay in the completion of the terminal building in Lagos, has been addressed with the approval of funds by the President, stressing that the private hangers that were also hampering the work have started giving way.
He said once the Ministry is able to complete the new terminal building, the old one will be replaced by a new structure.
He appealed to the Committee for their cooperation in the efforts of the Ministry to ensure the nation’s airports are safe.
On the performance of the 2019 budget, the Minister told the lawmakers that only N7,330,178,427.45 representing 20.8 percent of the capital allocation to the Ministry was released, adding that so far N2,627,119,597.14 has been paid out from the released 2019 Budget, while some Certificates of Completion of Projects are being processed for payment.
He appealed for their support to ensure that the Aviation Sector is improved by ensuring that the airports and all the needed equipment necessary for safety and security are provided to meet the Standard and Recommended Practices (SARPs) as outlined by regulatory Aviation bodies such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (lCAO), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).