Lawmaker laments level of work on Abuja airport runway

Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja

A lawmaker on Monday expressed frustration at the level of rehabilitation work carried out on the runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, three weeks into its closure.

The Chairman, House Committee on Aviation, Nkiruka Onyejeocha, lamented that the work may not be completed by the scheduled six weeks deadline.

The committee’s concerns came despite claims by the project managers that 40 per cent work had been carried out so far.

The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, on Monday threatened to resign if the airport is not reopened by the end of the six weeks.

Ms. Onyejeocha, who led members of the committee on an oversight function to the airport, expressed worry that though the agreement signed with the contractors was for total reconstruction of the runway, they appeared to be carrying out a mere resurfacing work.

The lawmaker also said that work had not started on the taxiway, adding that there is still a lot to be done in the rehabilitation efforts.

“I have my concerns from what I have seen because the work is divided into three phases and they’re on the first phase and from a layman’s angle, which I am, I’m saying that I have concern that the work will not be completed but they keep saying it will be completed,” she said.

“What we’ve seen is the civil aspect but we are concerned about the mechanical, particularly around the lightening of the runway.”

“That’s the point; they said it’s a total resurfacing but when we come to the board, they’ve to explain to us the level of implementation to what they signed.

“Of course, we’ve the papers to what agreement they signed. We have concerns from what we’ve seen on the ground. We’ve the issue of whether it’s total reconstruction or resurfacing.

“But those things will be explained through the books. They said they’ll start the lightening of the runway by Wednesday.”

Expressing concern over a possible extension of the closure timeline, the committee chairman said Nigerians were concerned and would not want any extension.

“We want them to give us a perfect job on the agreement we’ve made,” she said.

The federal government had earlier on Monday debunked media reports that it had extended the rehabilitation work on the Abuja airport runway to 18 weeks, even as it reassured air travelers that the work would not exceed the original six weeks plan.

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