The Federal Government has insisted that it is not going back on the closure of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja for six weeks for repairs to be carried out.
Speaking at the Second Presidential Business Forum at the State House, Abuja, Minister of Transport Rotimi Amaechi said the bad state of the airport was already affecting smooth operations.
He was responding to the concerns of the negative impact of the closure of the airport by the President of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Frank Udenba-Jacobs, who made a presentation on behalf of the Organised Private Sector (OPS).
The roundtable was a platform for interaction between the private sector and the government.
Amaechi stressed that ministers would do the right things at the right time and would not put themselves in a position where they would be asked by Nigerians to resign over the airport.
He noted that Lufthansa has been grounded for the past three days due to damaged gear on landing at the airport.
He said the airport has outlived its 20 years live-span and it’s now 34 years.
The work to be done, he said, is not repairs but complete rebuilding of the runway.
According to him, the entire architecture of the runway from bottom to top has collapsed, stressing that it was totally unsafe to continue to use the runway.
The minister explained that the work cannot only be done at night.
He said: “We are not going back on closure of Abuja airport. I understand that Lufthansa landed and damage their gear and have been here for three days. The runaway 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.”
The meeting was still in progress at the time of filing this report.