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Nigerian Government Announce Date To Close Abuja International Airport Even As Foreign Airlines Rejects Kaduna Airport As The Alternative Airport!

According to reports, from 12 am on Wednesday, March 7, 2017, Nigeria's number one international gateway to the capital city Abuja, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, will be closed down for repairs. The controversial decision, which has been rejected by majority of international airlines, will last for 6 weeks, Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s minister of information told a press conference on Monday, March 5, 2017.
The press conference was also attended by the minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; the minister of state in charge of aviation, Hadi Sirika; and the country’s police chief, Ibrahim Idris.
And it has been reported that only one foreign airline has agreed to use the Kaduna International Airport, which the government has made available to substitute to the for the closed airport. The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, told journalists that so far only Ethiopian Airlines has agreed to use the Kaduna airport as an alternative.
The closure will last for six weeks to allow a comprehensive maintenance of the airport runway. The decision to close the only airport in the federal capital has been criticised by aviation experts, and several international airlines warned they will not operate the Kaduna route. Mr. Sirika said observations made by acting President Yemi Osinbajo who was in Kaduna Airport on Friday had been “taken care of”.This is what Reuben Abati, a media adviser to former Nigerian president wrote In an opinion editorial in January 2016 as he cautioned the federal government over the decision to close the Abuja International. Mr Abati cited the permanent state of renovation of Owerri and Port Harcourt Airports which were closed for the purpose of runway repairs years ago.
“A few years ago, the Federal Government of Nigeria shut down the Port Harcourt International Airport to carry out what they called repairs or was it renovation? It was supposed to be an exercise for a few weeks, but it took more than an entire year. Flights were diverted to an airport in the city at great cost to travellers, but the so-called renovation took forever,” Dr. Abati observed.
“The Port Harcourt airport became a grazing field for cows, at other times, a vehicle-driving field, and for more than one year, travel to Port Harcourt, one of Nigeria’s most strategic cities was a nightmare. Each time the Nigerian government talks about fixing the airports, using the words, renovation, rehabilitation or reform, it is better to be cynical.
“The Sam Mbakwe Airport in Owerri, for example, was once touted as a major hub in the South East, and government spent so much money turning it into an international cargo airport for the East, but that same airport soon became flooded during the rainy season and planes could no longer land.
“Both the Port Harcourt and Owerri airports are currently in a permanent state of renovation. The lives of those who wanted to renovate them at any level whatsoever are ironically and scandalously, imaginably better renovated.
“The airports failed, the managers smiled to the banks. In those two airports, travellers were put through enormous strain because the entire airports or sections had to be shut down. But the people, expectant as they were had no choice in the matter,” he wrote

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