The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika said President Muhammadu Buhari would in no distance time commission the completed cargo terminal project at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Sirika, who made the disclosure while responding to questions raised by the House Committee on Aviation when he appeared before it for the defence of the ministry’s 2023 budget proposal, also disclosed that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had concluded investigation into the second Abuja airport cargo terminal project abandoned by contractors after receiving 75 per cent advance payment.
He stated that the Nigerian national air carrier would take off before the end of the year with boing 737 for domestic operations while international operations would be introduced later.
“There are two cargo projects in Abuja. One has been completely finished and will be commissioned by His Excellency Mr. President soon. The second one, the contract was given in 2012, the contractors were advanced money up to about 75 per cent. These contracts were abandoned by the contractors. Mr. President directed that they be investigated, prosecuted and the monies recovered but because we don’t have prosecuting powers, we reported to EFCC. Now in the last three and half years, they confirmed to me that they have finished the investigation. This is worrisome. We will inform the House when we see EFCC and they brief us formally,” he said.
Sirika said the Aviation Ministry recorded “significant achievements in virtually all areas of the sector” within the life of the present administration.
“We have provided the safety and security needed in the aviation sector, which has led to the certification for the first time ever in the history of the country of Muritala Mohamed Airport, Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport. It is a milestone being the first ever airports to be certified, government in, government out. This testimony as to our concern to our focus on safety. We have recorded the highest level of safety and unprecedented growth, making aviation the fastest growing sector of the Nigerian economy.
“Today Nigeria is the seventh highest country in recovery from COVID. Some airlines also received interventions to be saved from total collapse. We also created an enabling environment, which provided airlines in the country to attain certification and international air transport association operational safety audit. Our airports are wearing new and befitting looks,” he further stated.
However, the Chairman of the Committee, Nnolim Nnaji, expressed concern over the omission of one of the critical security and safety agency of the Ministry, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) from the 2023 from the federal budget.
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