Senate Probes Airport Renovation Contracts

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Gateway to Nigeria's capital.

By Sadiq Umar – The Senate on Wednesday mandated its Committee on Aviation to look at the circumstances surrounding the award of contracts for the renovation of airports in the country and the alleged shoddy jobs carried out.

The Senate also asked the Committee to ensure that those found culpable of wrongdoing should be brought to justice.

Gateway to Nigeria’s capital.

The decision followed a motion by Sen. Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu) who urged for the urgent renovation of the facilities and infrastructure of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu state, which he argued are in a state of disrepair.

According to him, “on the 20th of November 2016, a strong windstorm substantially damaged parts of the airport including the arrival and departure lounges.

He told his colleagues that the protective sheen of the buildings at the airport was filled with debris and wind-blown garbage littering the inside of the buildings thereby putting passengers, staff and other users of the airports in danger.”

Speaking in the same vein, another Enugu Senator, Ike Ekwremadu (PDP, Enugu) supported the motion, saying, “while using the opportunity to convey the need to dialogue with the Minister of State for Aviation whom I also mentioned this matter to earlier than now, we must as a matter of fact try to avert disasters when we know that they can possibly happen.

Ekweremadu, who is the deputy senate President stressed the need to go back possibly to do that runway of the airport, noting that “as it is as long as we are having rain, the surface of the run way we keep wearing away and thereby exposing danger to the users of the airport.

He also faulted the construction works on the Abuja airport road saying: “that also reminds me about most of the roads in Abuja where you have open drains and once you have rainfall you see a lot of vehicles going into the gutter or one accidents or the other. Some of these designs were done as far back as 1975.

“About a year or 2 ago, the Ethiopian airline which is the only international airline coming through that airport has introduced cargo place coming into the airport. Two occasions, they tried to land, they lost two tires each because of the quality of the runway and they stopped bringing cargo aircrafts to that airport. Other airports should be maintained so they can continue to use them for a long time,” Ekweremadu argued.

The Minority Leader of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio (PDP, Akwa-Ibom) also spoke in support of the motion.

Narrating his recent personal experience, he said: “I had an experience at the Lagos International Airport during the Sallah break, I wanted to travel to one of the west African countries and I saw similar situation of people entering the rain to board aircraft and the immigration officer complained to me how they use pails to stop water and that it supposed to be the responsibilities of FAAN.”

 

Senate President, Bukola Saraki who presided over the plenary urged his colleagues to come up with solutions to the problems.

“We should see how we can prevent any mishap,” he added.

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