Sequel to the timely completion of the Abuja Airport runway, the minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said it is a confirmation that “Nigerians elected a responsive, responsible and capable federal government”, under President Muhammadu Buhari.
The minister made the comment on Wednesday, April 19, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Mr. Segun Adeyemi.
The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, was closed for six weeks as a result of a reconstruction work on its runway. Its timely completion paved way for the re-opening of the airport ahead of schedule.
Sen. Hadi Sirika, Minister of State for Aviation, had sworn to resign his appointment as minister if the contractors handling the project failed to meet up with the deadline for the reconstruction. However, the reopening of the airport for air operations came one day ahead of the expiration of the official deadline and the first airline to land at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport was the Ethiopian Airlines which relocated to Kaduna Airport after Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport was shut down.
According to Lai Mohammed, the completion of the project even prior the slated date was a prove of the government’s ability to live up to its promise and rise up to any occasion, no matter how difficult the challenge may be.
He described the ability of the government to complete the reconstruction of the runway within the stipulated time, despite doomsday predictions, as “a remarkable achievement”.
“The clockwork precision with which everything concerning the closure of the airport and the temporary relocation to the Kaduna Airport was handled is the clearest indication yet that Nigeria can tackle any challenge,” he said.
Speaking further, Mr. Lai Mohammed pointed out that the refurbishing of the Abuja-Kaduna road and the provision of effective security along the highway showed that
Nigerians have all it takes to make the country a proud member of the comity of nations.
The minister of Information and Culture also commended the perfect handling of the massive logistics involved in ensuring that the Kaduna Airport was able to handle a large number of flights.
“It is to the credit of the security agencies and the Federal Road Safety Corps that passengers traveling along the ever-busy Abuja-Kaduna highway were largely kept safe while the closure of the Abuja airport lasted.
“There was no known security scare while accidents on the road were kept at the barest minimum, despite the increased vehicular traffic.
“Who can forget the timely departure and arrival of the Abuja-Kaduna train that ferried thousands of passengers back and forth during the Abuja airport closure?
“Indeed, the closure of the Abuja airport runway and the logistic nightmare it triggered must rank among the most intimidating
challenges faced by this Administration,” he said.
To those who might want to make the feat by the present government look insignificant, Lai Mohammed reminded them to understand that what could not be achieved in the over 30 years the runway was left to degenerate was achieved in just six weeks, even under an economic recession. He also recalled that the Port Harcourt International Airport was closed for almost two years by the Jonathan administration.
Mohammed appreciated Nigerians for enduring the inconveniences that came with the relocation of Abuja flights to Kaduna. He went on to appreciate the Ethiopian Airlines that operated its scheduled Abuja flights to Kaduna and the Julius Berger construction company that worked day and night to deliver the project ahead of schedule.
The minister said the success recorded in the timely reconstruction of the Abuja airport runway could only rank next to the determined effort with which the government contained the Boko Haram insurgency.
He also noted that the present administration under the stewardship of President Muhammadu Buhari was employing the same uncommon determination to tackle all the challenges facing the country.