By Sumaila Ogbaje
The Minister of State, Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, will on Thursday engage the Industry’s Stakeholders on issues arising from the proposed closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, for repairs on its runway.
Sirika disclosed this in a statement issued by Mr James Odaudu, Deputy Director, Press and Public Affairs, Ministry of Transportation on Monday in Abuja.
He said the meeting was a follow-up to the decision of the Federal Government to temporarily shut down operations at the airport for six weeks in February and March.
According to the minister, the Stakeholders’ Forum will afford him with the opportunity to officially inform the sector’s players of the decision.
“It is also to brief them on efforts being made to ensure that the use of the Kaduna International Airport as an alternative during the six-Week closure of the Abuja Airport is seamless and hitch-free.
“The Stakeholders will also be expected to make their contributions and key into the plans to make their operations during the period less problematic,” he said.
Sirika, however, emphasised that the Forum was in line with government’s belief in ventilating people’s opinions in formulating and executing policies.
He said that government was aware of the likely high level of discomfort and inconvenience the proposed closure of the airport would cause air transport passengers, airline operators and other service providers.
He explained that the decision was informed by safety and security concerns, saying that government would rather lose billions of dollars in revenue than to risk lives.
The minister also disclosed that the ministry would invite other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as security agencies and the Kaduna State Government who were expected to play roles during the six-week period.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the minister had in December revealed government plans to shut down the airport while briefing newsmen on its efforts toward addressing the challenges of aviation fuel.