By Favour Nnabugwu
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika has said that the cargo terminal project at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, NAIA, Abuja will be commissioned soon.
The cargo terminal that will be commission by President Muhammadu Buhari reiterated that the national carrier will take off before the end of the year with boeing 737 series airplanes.
Sirika stated while responding to questions from lawmakers during his defence or 2023 budget at the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
He said: “There are two cargo projects in Abuja. One has been completely finished and will be commissioned by His Excellency Mr. President soon. The second one, the contract was given in 2012, the contractors were advanced money up to about 75%.
“These contracts were abandoned by the contractors. Mr. President directed that they be investigated, prosecuted and the monies recovered but because we don’t have prosecuting powers, we reported to EFCC.
“Now in the last three and half years, they confirmed to me that they have finished the investigation. This is worrisome. We will inform the the House when we see EFCC and they brief us formally.
“The aviation ministry has recorded some significant achievements in virtually all areas of the sector within the life of this administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We have provided the safety and security needed in the aviation sector, which has led to the certification for the first time ever in the history of the country of Murtala Mohamed Airport, Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport.
“It is a milestone being the first ever airports to be certified, government in, government out. This testimony as to our concern to our focus on safety. We have recorded the highest level of safety and unprecedented growth, making aviation the fastest growing sector of the Nigerian economy.
“Today, Nigeria is the 7th highest country in recovery from COVID. Some airlines also received interventions to be saved from total collapse. We also created an enabling environment, which provided airlines in the country to attain certification and international air transport association operational safety audit. Our airports are wearing new and befitting looks.”
In his remarks, earlier, the chairman of the House Committee, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji expressed concern over the omission of the 2023 budget of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) by the government, promising to address the matter.
“You would recall that the committee spend most of last week visiting some projects executed by the ministry and some of its agencies within the FCT. Within the next few weeks, the committee will be embarking on similar tours to most importantly but not limited to the other three International Airports Terminals slated for concession.
“The Committee has noticed with great concern the omission of one of the critical Security and Safety Agency of the Ministry, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) from the 2023 FGN budget.
“This Committee and its Senate counterpart is committed to ensuring that the abnormality is corrected. However, as the minister superintending the ministry, we request that you make the clarification on the matter,” Nnaji said.