Reps hold crucial meeting with contractor on rehabilitation of Enugu airport

• As FG saves N1.5bn of initial contract sum • Previous expansion work failed within 6 years ― NAMA • As Contractor raises alarm over hostility of host communities

The House of Representatives on Thursday held a crucial meeting with the contractor handling the rehabilitation of Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu State, with the view to ensure timely completion of the N10 billion contract before Easter celebration.

The Chairman, House Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nnolil Nnaji and other stakeholders who spoke during the meeting expressed grave concern over the competence of the contractors who handled the rehabilitation of the airport in 2010 but collapsed in 2016.

Other stakeholders, who spoke at the meeting are Managing Director of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigeria Airports Management Authority (NAMA), as well as the consultants.

At the meeting, Mr David Emerson, who spoke on behalf of the contractor, assured that the company will accelerate the rehabilitation of the airport, adding that plans are underway to add concrete pavements at the end of the runway.

He, however, solicited for the intervention of the Committee towards resolving the crisis arising from the hostility of the host communities where the quarry is located.

“We have visited a lot of quarries producing stones that meet specifications. We are worried about getting the stones within the compressed time as communities are blocking our trucks,” he lamented.

While responding to questions on the disparity between of amounts required and the amount approved, FAAN Managing Director, Captain Rabiu Yadudu, who disclosed that the total sum of N10 billion approved by resident Muhammadu Buhari, however explained that the actual amount eventually required for the contract was N8.5 billion, leaving a surplus of N1.5 billion in the coffer of the supervising ministry.

The lawmakers, who harped on the for timely completion of the project before Easter celebration, resolved to embark on oversight visit within 3 weeks to ascertain the level of work done so far.

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In his presentation, NAMA Managing Director/CEO, Mr Fola Akinkuotu explained that: “The current collapse of the Akanu Ibiam Airport is regarded as a major work which is not only limited to the pavement surface but also requires stabilisation of base courses.

“600-meter runway extension was constructed in 2010 and it failed in 2016 which is just after six years.”

On his part, the consultant engaged by the ministry, Mohammed Sani Baba expressed optimism that Boeing 747 (400 series) fully loaded should be able to land and take off from Enugu Airport on completion of the project.

As stated in the document presented to the Committee, the correction of the slope from 0.7% to 1.3% or 1.5% on full strength especially where water ponding is observed; 2.5% slope shall be maintained on the shoulder.

The overlay is also capable of extending the life of the pavement by well above 10 years.

The proposed cross-section for both 1.3% and 1.5% transverse slope satisfy international standards and are also effective for quick removal of runoff.

The company also assured that the cost implication of the rehabilitation has been analysed and the design will fix all the structural failure of the pavement and greatly improve the operations of the airport, the implementation comes at a relatively lower cost.

The company also intends to use fiberglass grid which will prevent crack, water damage, improve loading capacity and prolong the lifetime of the pavement.

In his intervention, Hon. Victor Nwokolo stressed the need for the contractor to factor in specification, design, quality as well as follow the bill of quantity.

In the bid to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in the completion of the work, the lawmaker underscored the need for the harmonious relationship between the contractor and consultants.

While speaking, Hon. Nnolil disclosed that the contract for the rehabilitation of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport was awarded to PW above other local contractors because of its track record.

While reacting to issues bothering on the host communities, Hon. Nnolil urged the contractor to synergise with the Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State with the view to resolve the problem.

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