Reps to probe Port Harcourt airport upgrade

THE House of Representatives on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to urgently cause the resumption of rehabilitation works at the Port Harcourt International Airport.

The equally mandated the House Committees on Aviation, Anti-Corruption and Public Accounts to investigate the expenditure of all the monies released for the upgrading and maintenance of the Airport from 2011 to date.

The committees were also tasked to get the reasons for the abandonment of rehabilitation works at the Airport, with a view to ensuring that same is completed, and report back within four (4) weeks for further legislative action.

The House resolution followed a motion sponsored by Honourable Kingsley Chinda entitled “call to investigate the abandonment of the remodelling of Port Harcourt International Airport”.

According to him, “in year 2011, the Federal Government, under former President Goodluck Jonathan, awarded a contract for remodelling of Airports across the country, including Port Harcourt International Airport, however while remodelling works were ‘substantially’ completed at Abuja, Kano, Lagos, Sokoto, Yola, Ilorin, Enugu and Owerri Airports, that of Port Harcourt was abandoned and has till date remained under rehabilitation at a slower than snail speed rate.

The Airport, he said was in a very poor state, adding that, “no concrete work is on-going at the site as passengers are received in tents, and even the departure hall which was claimed to have been completed is full of structural faults with noticeable cracks on the walls, suspended ceilings and leaking roof, yet the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) collects tolls and other very high charges for entry into and over-night parking at the Airport”.

He also maintained that “budgetary allocations have always been made for modernization and remodelling as well as Airports projects maintenance, yet the proper utilization of such funds falls short of expectations of teeming Nigerians”.

Speaking further, he said that “social, economic and commercial activities in Rivers State and indeed the South-South and Southern Eastern parts of the country have been adversely affected as a result of the poor state of the Port Harcourt International Airport and unless steps are taken to ensure resumption of rehabilitation works, the funds already expended would have been wasted and the sum budgeted and advanced for the project could be frittered away, thus adding to the growing number of abandoned projects”.

The motion scaled through when the Speaker, Honourable Yakubu Dogara put the motion to voice vote.

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