Information reaching Nairametrics indicates that the Ministry of Aviation has ordered the demolition of the headquarters of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA) in Lagos.
A source close to the ministry confided in our correspondent that the planned demolitions would enable the ministry to carry out one of its roadmaps – the aerotropolis project – which it had planned since 2015.
The source noted that the ministry plans to build hotels, cinemas, spars and other facilities on the land presently occupied by the two major agencies.
This is coming barely seven months after the Ministry of Aviation ordered the demolition of the headquarters of the Accident Investigation Bureau – Nigeria (AIB-N) at MMA.
Nairametrics understands that plans have reached an advanced stage for the planned demolitions.
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Aviation Minister on the new Airport City
While speaking over the weekend at the Aviation Breakfast Meeting, Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika disclosed that the airport city in Lagos was designed to link the old airport with the new airport by rail.
He also noted that the project was intended to develop all the areas where FAAN, NAMA, and others currently have their structures. According to him, the plan is to put a private sector initiative there for offices and others.
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He said plans have been developed even as consultancy services have been given out to the private sector and entrepreneurs in the aviation industry that has shown interest.
Worries have been expressed
Commenting on the development, Group Captain John Ojikutu (retd), an aviation analyst, told Nairametrics he had concerns over the planned demolition of the two buildings. He wondered why such a project is coming barely seven months to the end of President Buhari’s administration and doubted its sincerity.
“I am getting confused with the developmental trends of Sen. Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation. What is his meaning of aerotropolis? I had thought that the lands on the Western Part of the airport within Shasha, Egbeda and others that have been encroached upon should be the focus of any form of aerotropolis. The aim of beginning an aerotropolis from within the airport, especially with NAMA and FAAN headquarters is a deliberate target in the Bi-Courtney properties, which include the uncompleted hotel and the conference centre.
“Unfortunately, my people in the Lagos State Government are too naive to respond to the concession of the MMA. On the other hand, if the administration of the government and its agencies are serious about the airport concessions, what will be the place of the aerotropolis in MMA? All these are coming and very fast too in an election year,” he said.
Demolition of N5 billion AIB-N Headquarters
Earlier in March, Sirika gave orders to FAAN to demolish the building to pave the way for the expansion of the apron wing of the newly commissioned second international terminal at the Lagos Airport.
The demolished regional headquarters of AIB-N houses its office complex, Command & Control Centre, office of investigators and Information Communication Technology (ICT) department. Others are the Training Centre, and Mini Flight Safety Laboratory, among others.
Most of the facilities at the AIB-N’s office in Lagos were installed less than four years ago by the current management led by Engr. Akin Olateru, its Commissioner.
AIB-N Demolished but not used
Seven months after the AIB-N building was demolished, no development has taken on the land space.
Aviation city Abuja
In a somewhat related development, plans to realise an aviation city in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) got a boost at the weekend as the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, received the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) for the project.
The aviation city would sit on 12,000 hectares of land on Bill Clinton Drive, Airport Road, Abuja.
The land would house the aerotropolis, free trade zone, the second runway for Abuja Airport, the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility, training facilities and other components of the aviation roadmap.
He likened the landmass to the size of Maitama, Wuse, and Garki put together.