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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Abuja Airport Closure: FG says effective measures in place to ease air travellers' plight

The Federal Government (FG) has said that the measures put in place to ensure comfort and safety of travellers at the Kaduna International Airport are working satisfactorily, reports ITRealms.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this in Abuja on Tuesday after leading a team of 40 Journalists on a tour of the Train Terminal in Abuja and the Kaduna International Airport.

"We set out this morning to show you how the train service works, some experiencing it for the very first time. We saw firsthand how passengers transfer from the Tarmac to Abuja either by train or by coach and we all came back (to Abuja) by road. You saw the level of security all along the way. I am very satisfied with all the measures,'' he said

Alhaji Mohammed said a lot of planning and innovation have gone into making the Kaduna International Airport a viable alternative to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, adding that some of the challenges being experienced have been anticipated because of the diversion of the huge volume of air traffic to Kaduna.

''But Nigerians have risen to the challenge to ensure seamless operation at the airport,'' he said.

The Minister therefore appealed to Nigerians to be patient, as two weeks have already elapsed from the six weeks earmarked for the reconstruction of the runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.

"The issue is not whether Abuja Airport has failed or whether we have to close the airport temporarily. The issue is have we done all that is necessary to ensure minimal disruption to airline services, to ensure minimal inconvenience for passengers and members of the public and to ensure security of lives and ensure that safety is paramount?

"I think I will answer the four questions in the affirmative, that we have done all that ought to be done within a very short time to provide these. It's not a perfect situation. In other words, there is no way we can replicate Abuja in Kaduna within the time frame, but if the objective is to ensure seamless operation and minimal disruption to services, absolute safety and security, I think we have done well,'' he said.

In his remarks, the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, said the measures that have been put in place for seamless air operation in Kaduna include construction of the perimetre fencing and roads, installation of instrument landing system, completion of the terminal building, fixing of runway markings, deployment of Mobile Control Tower, designation of the Hajj Terminal for domestic passengers and the Terminal Building for International Passengers, and provision of buses to take passengers from Abuja to Kaduna.

The team of Journalists led by the Minister of Information and Culture inspected the Railway Terminal at Idu on the outskirts of Abuja before departing by rail to Kaduna, where the team also inspected the Port Health Section, VIP lounge, Immigration and Customs.

After the inspection in Kaduna, the team returned to Abuja by road in order to experience first hand the level of security along the Kaduna-Abuja highway.

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE
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