• No going back on airport closure, says Amaechi

Minister of Transport, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, yesterday said that one of the airlines operating at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja has been grounded due to gear damage caused by bad runway.

The minister said that the Federal Government was not going back on the closure of the Abuja airport for six weeks for repair works.

The gear of the Lufthansa aircraft got damaged as a result of the spoilt runway as it landed at the airport and has been down for the past three days.

Amaechi stated this while speaking at the Second Presidential Business Forum, a platform to engage and interact with the private sector to keep them abreast with government’s policies, programmes and activities, presided over by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.

The minister was responding to the concerns of the negative impact of the closure of the airport by the President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Frank Udenba-Jacobs, who made a presentation on behalf of the Organised Private Sector (OPS).

He explained that the airport has outlived its 20 years lifespan and is now 34 years. According to him, the work to be done is not repairs, but complete rebuilding of the airport.

The minister, who also said that the entire architecture of the runway from bottom to top has collapsed, insisted that it is totally unsafe to continue to use the runway. Amaechi noted that the work cannot be done at night. “We are not going back on closure of Abuja airport.

I understand that Lufthansa airline had damaged their gear while landing and have been here for three days. “The runway was built to last for 20 years, but it has been in use now for 34 years. We cannot do it only at night. We don’t want to lose anybody.

We are not repairing, but rebuilding. If anything happens, you will ask us to resign and we don’t want to resign,” he added.

Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, had earlier explained that the closure of the airport would only last for six weeks while repairs of the 3,600 metres runway would take six months. The aviation minister explained this to lawmakers when he appeared before the Senate.

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