The Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello has appealed to the Federal Government to fix the Minna Airport to prevent the country from impending national embarrassment.He made the appeal when he led a team of political leaders from the state, to pay a courtesy visit to the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki at his office in Abuja.
The governor said he was in the Senate to seek the support of the National Assembly for the completion of the Minna-Suleja Road, the abandoned terminal wing of Minna Airport and the road network to Baro Inland Port by the Federal Government.
He argued that the fixing of Minna Airport, which requires less than 300 million Naira, would have given the country another alternative to the Kaduna airport.
The governor maintained that Niger state was not opposed to the selection of Kaduna airport, but noted that the Minna airport has more comparative advantages over the proffered airport.
“Minna is a natural alternative to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. It is nearer to Abuja and has a better run-way than Kaduna Airport.
“With the controversies the selection of Kaduna Airport is already generating with airline operators, we need to fix Minna airport, being the closest to the capital airport, give airline operators alternatives to choose from.
“From what I am seeing in the way we are handling the rehabilitation of the Abuja airport, if not carefully planned, we are heading for national embarrassment,” Gov. Sani Bello cautioned.
According to the governor, “The contractor handling the rehabilitation of Minna Airport is on ground with all the equipment needed to complete the project. All he needs is less than 300 million Naira.
Our runway is one of the best and we are the closest to Abuja”.
He also solicited for the support of the upper chamber of the National Assembly for the completion of works on Minna-Suleja Road, which has made life unbearable for travellers and the construction of roads to the Baro Inland Port.
The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki threw his weight at all the issues raised by Gov. Bello, stressing that lack of options of airports was responsible for the fire brigade approach in solving the Abuja airport.
According to him,”It is true Minna airport is the closest and the runway is in good condition. It is not good to limit ourselves to one airport as Mr. Governor has said”.
The Senate President agreed that the situation should salvaged but expressed concern that the much touted repair of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport was not captured in either the 2016 or 2017 budget.
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