Transport minister, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has said that there is the likelihood of loss of life at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, if the planned repair of its runway is not executed.
Read also: I DON’T LIKE MONEY- AMAECHI
The proposed repair and the attendant close-down have been trailed by controversy following opposition to plan diversion of Abuja-bound flights to Kaduna, an airport used primarily for domestic flights about 160 km (100 miles) to the north.
Amaechi raised fear that the airport if left in this state may claim life during an interactive session he had with selected journalists recently.
He said, “The truth is that the Federal Government does not want to close that airport, the pain we will feel for closing the airport is unimaginable. How do you close an airport in the seat of power? The President is also compelled to go to Kaduna to fly out. When people say these things, it is as if we are having fun closing the airport.
“That is not our intention. The crisis you have at the Abuja airport is that the runway has lasted 34 years and it is supposed to last 20 years. What these so-called experts are telling you is that they think we are repairing the runway. We are not, we are building a new runway because the foundation has given up, you cannot repair it anymore. If it is to overlay the runway, we will be glad to do that but if you overlay it, it won’t last and we don’t want to lose any life. It could be anybody, it could be me because I use the airport too.
“We are also confronted with the reality that people may die if we don’t shut down this airport and rebuilt the runway. I think Nigerians should be patient and give us some time.”