AIRPORT car hire operators and other business operators at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, have expressed joy over the reopening and return of activities to the airport after six weeks.
Some of the car hire operators, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday, recounted how they struggled to survive during the period of closure.
Mr Ikechukwu Chudi, a car hire operator, said the operators were excited about the reopening of the airport, while commending the Federal Government for keeping to its promise.
Chudi said he felt the impact of the closure to the extent that he was unable to meet most of his family needs.
“We are so excited and we are happy that the government fulfilled its promise to us that six weeks was six weeks and they did it in record time.
“So we are grateful to them and we are saying kudos to them.
“Our experience was terrible because some of us that did not pay our children’s school fees before the closure; it was bad as we have to borrow.
“Even the people that are depending on us also suffered but we thank God,” he said.
Another cab operator, Mr Victor Ochuba, also expressed appreciation to the government for completing the rehabilitation work within the stipulated time.
“We are excited because government did well for us because they were able to open it as scheduled.
“We suffered because to sustain our family was difficult, but now, we are happy,” Ochuba said.
A food vendor at the airport, Miss Vero Atanda, told NAN that staying away from business for six weeks was one of the most difficult experiences she had.
Atanda said she felt happy when she got the news that the airport was going to open on April 19 as earlier promised.
“I am happy that the government was able to complete the work and reopen the airport because I never believed that it was possible.
“Before the airport was closed, I heard many people talking about how the airport might remain closed for not less than six months instead of six weeks but today the story is real.
“I thank the government and I want them to act like this in other areas like road, power and education,” Atanda said.
A recharge card vendor, Ahmed Yakub, said he was happy that government was able to fulfill its promise to reopen the airport in six weeks.
Yakub said that though, life was tough for him and his family during the six weeks, he was optimistic that a lot could be achieved in other areas if the same commitment was deployed.
He also said that he used the alternative arrangement he made before the closure of the airport to run his business to assist him in catering for his family.
“I feel happy that we have returned because this airport is where we earn our living.
“It was not easy for me and my family during the time of the airport closure and our prayer now is that business should return to normal or even better than before,” Yakub said.
NAIA was shut for six weeks to enable the government to carry out rehabilitation work on the runway and was reopened on April 18 following completion of the project.