A former minister of state for aviation and now a ministerial nominee Sirika Hadi has said that the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, should be shut.
Sirika, stated this when he appeared before the senate for screening confirmation on Friday.
“I visited Enugu airport as minister thrice including the state government and unofficially twice. It has a lot of problems,” he said.
“If you ask me, I will close Enugu airport tomorrow actually today because the runway has failed. They are maintaining it regularly to ensure safe operations. I am not comfortable because there are also other problems with the runway.
“It (runway) is short, it needs to be extended. We recognise the efforts of the federal government by closing down the market beside the airport. Also, people have built within the premises of the airport on the safety area of the airport and that ought not to be on the land belonging to the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
“Whoever is the next minister will contend with that because this is safety. Enugu Airport will be dear to the next minister. That is my personal opinion. We are very jealous of that city and the airport.”
Responding to a question on the plans he has to revive the national carrier project if the reappointed minister of state for aviation, he said: “Should President Muhammadu Buhari still think that I go transportation, I will continue with that good job. It is good for the future and fortune of Nigerians. One aeroplane is equal to 300 direct jobs.
This is a priority that should be taken.”
“By the US estimation we are a trillion-dollar GDP, by official figures of the NBS, we are half a trillion-dollar GDP. All those that are not included like the barbershop, like the ‘Akara’ shop and so is considered we might be hitting more than $1.5 trillion GDP, we are 200 million people that will grow more than 400 million people in 2030.
“We are the centre, eco-distant to all locations in Africa, we are at the centre of the world we are highly mobile travelling people and this is why the prices of tickets are so expensive because we don’t have an alternative, we cannot match them, whatever they give we have to take. Its market, it is capitalism, we can run away from it, I think it is important.
“If it is me or whoever is the minister, I think that this is a priority we will take, thank God a lot of jobs has been done.”