SENATORS on Tuesday rejected the planned closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja over the planned repair of the runway by the Federal Government.
The government had announced a six-week closure of the Airport from March 8, to effect some repairs during which airlines would be diverted to Kaduna Airport.
Following the adoption of a motion moved on Tuesday by Senator Hope Uzordinma, the senate ordered its committee on aviation to within two days meet with the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, Minister of Power, Babatunde Fashola, FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, and heads of Aviation agencies to fashion out alternative measures.
In the motion titled; “The Planned Closure of Abuja Airport,” Senator Uzordinma argued that a six-week outright closure of a major and the only airport in the nation’s federal
capital can trigger untold hardship on international and local air travellers and therefore dent
the nation’s image.
According to him, a complete shot-down of the airport will impact negatively on international trade and related activities, with a multiplier effect that can exact further pressure on an already recessed national economy.
He also argued that the logistics and security challenges the diversion of Abuja bound flights to Kaduna will throw up would be too much to cope with by all relevant stakeholders.
He called on the Senate to stop the move as according to him, all other available options have not been exhausted to avoid the total shutdown of the Airport.
Many of the senators who contributed supported the motion leading to a unanimous decision to summon the affected ministers and heads of relevant aviation agencies for an alternative way out of the crisis.
In his remarks, Senate President Saraki said: “Where else in the world are things done this way. Idea of total closure of the Abuja Airport is not the best option.
“Therefore the Senate Aviation Committee should meet with the relevant ministers and heads of aviation agencies within the next two days for an alternative option and report back to the senate within a week for final decision over the matter.”