The repairs of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja and cost of logistics to Kaduna Airport will gulp N6.934billion, the Federal Government has revealed.
The breakdown includes N5.8billion for repairs of the runway and N1.134billion as cost of logistics to the alternative Kaduna Airport.
Hadi Sirika, Minister of State (Aviation) disclosed this on Tuesday at the ministerial briefing of the Senate on the planned closure of the airport.
This comes as the Senate has backed down from its earlier order on the Federal Government to suspend the repairs.
Announcing the resolution of the upper legislative chamber, which lasted for over four hours, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over the session, said the legislative body “prefers segmented repairs but Minister of Aviation can take final decision on renovation based on technical advice”.
The resolution of the Senate is at variance with that taken last week, where it advocated for repairs of the runway without major disruption of fights.
The Federal Government had announced the closure of the Abuja Airport for six-week for repair of the 3.6kilometers runway, commencing from March 8, with the Kaduna Airport as alternative airport.
Giving the breakdown, Sirika gave the cost implication of logistics for Federal Government agencies to include: Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) N100million, Federal Roads Safety Corps (FRSC) N237million, Nigeria Police N358million, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) 325million, Nigeria Immigration Service N29million and Ministry of Transportation N84million.
In their separate submissions before the Committee of the Whole, Sirika, his counterpart on Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola and Wolfgang Goetsch, Managing Director of the contracting firm Julius Berger, insisted that the total closure of the Airport for six weeks is the best way to deliver proper and standard job and save the lives of passengers.
Efforts by senators to convince the trio to look for alternative rather than total closure, met a brick wall, as they stuck to their guns.
Also, Fashola explained that the nation would not incur any extra expenses on the rehabilitation of Abuja-Kaduna Road.
According to him, the sum of N1.085billion was already earmarked in the 2016 budget for the project.
But in his presentation, Otis Anyaeji, President, Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE), argued that it is possible to carry out the repairs without shutting down the airport.
“The total shut down of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport being the only airport that connects the capital city of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is like shutting down Nigeria. Absence of a second runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja meant lack of excess runway capacity to temporarily closed down the main runway for repairs.
“That the runway could be reconstructed without closing the airport using segmented approach and knowing safety risk management procedures in line with ICAO guidelines. Aircrafts of B737 and below can use part of the runway while work is going on the other part,” he said.
However the Julius Berger MD said segmented execution of the project would take the firm between two and two-and-half years to complete as against the projected six months.