Fix Minna Airport to Avert National Embarrassment – Gov. Sani Bello
Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello has appealed to the Federal Government to fix Minna Airport to safe the country from impending national embarrassment.
He made the appeal when he led a team of political leaders from the state to pay the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki a courtesy visit in his office in Abuja on Friday.
The governor who said he was in the Senate to seek for the support of the National Assembly for the competition of Minna-Suleja Road, the abandoned terminal wing of Minna Airport and the road network to Baro Inland Port by the federal government .
He argued that the fixing of Minna Airport, which requires less than N300 million would have given the country another alternative to Kaduna airport and provide airline operators opportunity to choose while the rehabilitation works on Abuja airport lasted.
The governor maintained that Niger state was not opposed to the selection of Kaduna airport, but noted that the Minna airport has more comparative advantages over the preferred airport.
“Minna is a natural alternative to Nmandi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. It is nearer to Abuja and has a better run-way than Kaduna Airport.
“With the controversies the selection of Kaduna airport is already generating with airline operators, we need to fix Minna airport, being the closest to the capital airport, give airline operators alternatives to chose from and safe the country national embarrassment.
“From what I am seeing in the way we are handling the rehabilitation of of capital airport, if not carefully plan, we are heading for national embarrassment,” Gov. Sani Bello cautioned.
According to the governor, “The contractor handling the rehabilitation of Minna airport is on ground with all the equipment needed to complete the project. All he needs is less than N300 million. Our runway is one of the best and we are the closest to Abuja”.
He also solicited for the support of the upper chamber of the National Assembly for the competition of works on Minna-Suleja Road which has made life unbearable for travellers and the construction of roads to the Baro Inland Port.
Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki threw his weight at all the issues raised by Gov. Sani Bello, stressing that lack of options of airports was responsible for the fire brigade approach of solving the Abuja airport.
According to him,”It is true Minna airport is the closest and the runway in good condition. It is not good we limit ourselves to one airport as Mr. Governor has said”.
The Senate President agreed that the situation should salvaged but expressed concern that the much touted repair of the Nnamidi Azikiwe Airport was not even captured in either the 2016 or 2017 budget.
“Mr. Governor the issues of Minna-Suleja Road and the airport and the Baro Port are very critical, they are not only in the interest of Niger State but that of national and they require our support.