Again, Senate invites Sirika, others over Abuja airport closure

Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi SIrika.

The Senate has directed Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, to return on Tuesday to give further detail on the planned closure of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

The order was given by the upper chamber on Thursday after Sirika’s appearance before the lawmakers on the issue.

President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, who announced the order for the minister to re-appear at the chamber, said that more explanation on the proposed closure, which would last for six weeks, was needed.

The senate also invited the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, who could not honour the first invitation, to appear before it on Tuesday.

Fashola is expected to give explanation on maintenance of access roads to the Kaduna Airport, which the Ministry of Aviation plans to use as alternative airport for the period the Abuja Airport will be shut down.

Also to appear before the senators same day is Julius Berger Plc, the contractor billed to handle the project.

Giving reason for inviting Sirika a second time, Saraki told newsmen that the minister had while briefing the senators, said the planned closure of the Abuja airport was not conclusive.

According to him, the minister said that the ministry was opened to consider other options.

“He could not give us the exact amount on the cost of the relocation and logistics and promised to come back with the exact figures.

“He could also not hold brief for the Minister of Power, Works and Housing on the repairs that need to be made on some of the roads.

“The senate therefore resolved to invite the minister back on Tuesday along with Fashola, Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE), Julius Berger and other stakeholders,” he said.

The Senate had on Tuesday summoned the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, to appear within two days over the planned shutdown of the Abuja airport.

This followed a motion by Chairman, Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariff, Hope Uzodinma, and co-sponsored by five other senators.

The senate also summoned Fashola, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar and Sirika, on the issue.

Others invited were Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Managing Director, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Managing Director, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).

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