In furtherance to the sensitization and preparations for the closure of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, the Minister of Aviation, State, Hadi Sirika has assured stakeholders in the aviation industry of adequate preparations and security within the stipulated six weeks duration of the exercise.
The minister, who made the assurance at a forum to discuss matters arising from the proposed closure of the Abuja airport and the use of Kaduna as alternative, stated that in tackling the security situation, the military, Department of State Security Service, Airforce, Police have all been drafted in to offer additional security to the airport and Abuja -Kaduna road during this period.
The government also revealed that additional security personnel, both from Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria and others, have been drafted to the Kaduna airport, while about 20 policemen will man every 11kilometer during these six weeks duration.
The minister also noted that the president has approved the sum of N1 billion for the completion of the terminal work at the Kaduna airport, even as he approved the training of airport security to bear arms.
While explaining the reason for the choice of Kaduna, as against Kwara or Niger airports, the minister noted that the Kaduna is closer to Abuja and the facilities in Kaduna are in better shape than that of the other neighbouring states.
On the mode of operation within the six weeks, Sirika said the passengers who are travelling from Abuja will be screened either at the old parade ground or the Eagles’ square and re-screened at the Kaduna airport and driven to Kaduna via a bus that will be provided to support other means of transportation.
Also, he noted that there will be Helicopter service to all those who are interested in fast businesses and needs a faster way of getting into or out of Kaduna airport.
Meanwhile, some stakeholders of the ministry had expressed reservation towards the total closure of the airport, arguing for partial closure or overnight maintenance, which the ministry quietly declined, insisting that the project has to be total overhualing due to the severity of the demage done to the Abuja runway.
The closure for maintenance of the Abuja airport is set to commence on March 8, 2017 and run through six week, terminating by April 19, 2017.