The Federal Government of Nigeria (FG) has explained the underlining reasons for the plan to demolish and rebuild the 40-year-old Murtala Muhammed International Airport, in Lagos State.
According to the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, the planned demolition became necessary after some investigations were carried out on the facility.
The Investigation: The Minister disclosed that the comprehensive investigations that were carried out by Julius Berger Nigeria plc revealed that there’s been an increase in the number of airlines over the years.
As a result of this, it has become necessary to rebuild the airport terminal. The Minister stated that besides the comprehensive investigation, airlines and other users of the terminal have, over the years, continuously canvassed the overhaul and expansion of the facility.
Backstory: Last weekend, information about the planned demolition of the 300,000 capacity Lagos Airport was disclosed by the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika. He stated then that the airport has outlived its usefulness. It was further disclosed that it would cost about N14 billion to give the facility a befitting facelift.
A Major Reconstruction: The Former Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Saleh Dunom, further gave a breakdown of the reconstruction of the Lagos Airport. According to him, the exercise will be carried out in two phases in order to allow for flight operations.
Sirika further explained that part of the major work to be carried out include: structural repairs on the integrity of the terminal, electrical cabling, extension of two levels of the terminal, the rebuilding of the gangways, as well as aviation bridges.
Other areas to be fixed in the terminal include the faulty elevators and the air-conditioning system. Siriki had stated that the mismatch which is currently being experienced at the Lagos Airport, does not portray Nigeria as a country planning for the growth of its aviation industry.
Meanwhile, the Minister faulted the airports remodeling exercises that were recently carried for over 13 terminals across the country. According to him, the $500 million loans that were secured from the Chinese Import-Export Bank and the Federal Government’s N100 million counterpart funds were not strategically deployed. He argued that the previous loans should have been deployed towards fixing only Lagos and Abuja Airports.
Meanwhile, the Minister disclosed that the demolition of the Lagos Aiport will commence once the new international terminal being constructed with a loan from the Chinese Import-Export Bank is completed and inaugurated for use.
The minister stated that attention would be given to Lagos Airport as part of the government’s plan to develop an “aerotropolis” where airports play key roles as enablers of economic development.
In the meantime, Sirika said the government will go on with its planned concession of airports by bringing the private sector on board to ensure sufficient funding for Nigerian Airports.
“We will not hand over any airport from one tier of government to another. Rather, we will hand them over to private investors with proven capacity to undertake such tasks as it has been done in many parts of the world.”