The aviation minister says a deal with a Chinese bank will see to the completion of the new airports within two years.
Nigeria is set to begin the construction of five new international airports, the Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah has said. The airports, to be used for commercial flights, will be located in Lagos, Kano, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Enugu.
Six other airports, for perishable cargoes, will also be built in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Kano and Asaba, bringing the total number of airports to 11.
The Federal government has approved the sum of N106 billion for the project and has issued orders for the “immediate take-off of construction work on the five terminals for international flights”.
Ms. Oduah announced at a news conference, Thursday, in Abuja that the money was approved at the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday. She said the new international terminal projects are different from the on-going remodeling and reconstruction of 11 airports in the country.
Ms. Oduah said that the projects are part of the government’s road map to achieve its transformation agenda in the aviation sector.
“For us as a ministry and government, we consider this development a huge opportunity to put to practical effect, the present administration’s Transformation Agenda,’’ Ms. Oduah said.
The minister said that the first phase of the remodeling and construction of 11 airports would be completed in the next 90 days, while the contract for the second phase of another 11 airports would take two years before completion.
She explained that the projects are to be executed with a concessionary loan from China Nexim Bank in 22 years with 5 years moratorium at an interest rate of 2 per cent.
Ms. Oduah added that mobilisation to site by the contractors is expected to commence in the next 90 days.
“What this means is that before the end of the lifespan of this administration, we would have been able to bequeath to Nigerians the airports of their dreams.
“Our dream is to also strive to transform Nigeria’s aviation sector into a major contributor to the nation’s GDP and the airports are pivotal to the actualisation of this dream,” she said.
Ms. Oduah said the third phase of the implementation strategy of the aviation transformation is the Aerotropolis project — airport cities that provide clusters of businesses.
According to her, the Aerotropolis will provide businesses in manufacturing, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) amongst others.
The Minister said she and some staff of her ministry recently embarked on an international Investors’ Road Show to China, Canada and the United States to market the opportunities that abound for investment in the nation’s aviation sector.
“I am very happy to inform you that our team was not only well received in those countries, but also quite significant, is the fact that the trip has begun to yield great results.
“In a few days’ time, I shall be returning to China to sign a contract for the take-off of construction work on the five brand new terminals. We shall also use the opportunity to conclude discussions with the investors that have shown tremendous interest and enthusiasm to invest in the Aerotroplis project,’’ the minister said.
Eleven airports that are currently undergoing reconstruction are Murtala Muhammed International Airport and the General Aviation Terminal (GAT), Lagos; the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja; Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa; the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu; and the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.
Others are Margaret Ekpo International Airport, Calabar; Yakubu Gowon Airport, Jos; the airports in Yola, Kaduna and Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri.