Govt Officially Announce Closure of Abuja Airport, Assures Security

The federal government has officially announced the closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International, Abuja (NAIA).

The government also assured Nigerians of security of life and property of all travelers.

The minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed who disclosed this during a world press briefing yesterday in Abuja said that the airport will be officially shut from operations 12 am on Wednesday, March 8 and would be closed for six weeks for the "rebuilding of the runway."

LEADERSHIP report that sequel to the planned closure of the airport only Ethiopian Airlines out of over 25 international airlines operating in the country, has agreed to land in Kaduna Airport, the alternate terminal. This means that passengers destined for Abuja would have to land either in Lagos, Minna, Port Harcourt or Kano (depending on the carrier) and then connect Abuja via road, rail or flight.

Addressing the conference, the Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said the federal government was in talks with other international carriers, especially Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines, to urge them to rescind their decisions of shunning Kaduna since its facilities meet international and global best standards.

Sirika further revealed that the NAIA runway reconstruction would gulp well over N5 billion.

"We have calibrated the landing systems in Kaduna. All the open items spotted by international airlines have been closed. We've a mobile control tower in Kaduna. We have a good runway there. The terminal building and Very Important Personality (VIP) lounge are almost ready. We have provided free buses and rail transport for passengers to and from Kaduna. We are good to go with regards to airport logistics," he said.

Sirika also assured that the the federal government has fulfilled its promise to make the Kaduna Airport available and ready for use as an alternative.

He also said that just as the federal government has worked tediously to ensure that the Kaduna- Abuja express way is safe for road users, he assured that other roads across the country is also safe for motorists to ply.

He said a website: www.abujaairportclosure.info has also been launched by the government to ensure delivery of information to the public.

Sirika said all international airlines but one has refused to use the alternative route - Kaduna Airport - approved by the federal government.

"Immediately passengers land, they will be given a form which will have three options: I need train, I need bus and I have private arrangement," Sirika said.

"There will be staff on ground to guide in whichever option they choose," he said.

Minister of Transport Chibuike Amaechi also that all hands is currently on deck to make road transportation more safe across the country.

Amaechi also addressed the increase in the fares for the railway service from Abuja to Kaduna which went up recently from N600 to N1,050 saying government had to take the action to maintain the facility.

He also promised that additional coaches will be imported into the country by September 2017 to address the issues of overcrowding that is currently being experienced on the route.

On his part, the inspector general of police, Ibrahim Idris said that security arrangements have been perfected to guarantee the safety and security of travelers.

Idris said a specialized unit of the police; the counter terrorism department, dog sniffers and helicopter patrol will be deployed at all routes leading to the airport.

He also assured that other parts of the country would not be starved of policemen.

"We're set for the closure. We've all our men drawn from various units. We'll give the necessary cover for this operation. We only urge Nigerians to cooperate with us", he added.

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By 9jatravel / Administrator, bbp_keymaster

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on Mar 07, 2017

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